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Court TV
Old 01-28-2009, 09:55 AM   #1
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Court TV

After the thread on reality tv I thought I would post on the 'real' reality TV---court TV. Don't know how many of them there are now; Judge Judy, People's Court and several others. We watch People's Court pretty regularly and commercial free thanks to Tivo. I used to tell DW this stuff was all scripted but it just can't be. A real insight into how some people live.

Anyone else into court TV?

Anyone been to small claims court? Is it like the TV shows?

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Old 01-28-2009, 10:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by yakers View Post

Anyone else into court TV?

Anyone been to small claims court? Is it like the TV shows?
A few times, watched, got sick of it real fast.

DW and I had been to small claims court last fall. We sued the township over some zoning hearing fees by the township.

In our small town it was a tidy little affair. Just the township's lawyer, DW and I plus the Judge. The township's lawyer presented a check for the full amount of our pleading before the the judge, and asked the court to refund the court filing fee if we accept the township's check. By the way we rejected the same offer made via letter to us. The reason will be clear at the end of this ditty.

The judge asked if we will accept the check, we said yes, but we also want reimbursement for the court filing fees.
The town's lawyer asked the judge to refund the filing fees, since no trial. The judge very patiently expalined to the lawyer that the court does not refund any fees.

At this point the lawyer wrote a personal check of her own to cover the fees and handed it to us along with the town's check. The judge smiled. No trial, case closed.

So township saved the hassle of losing a case in court, and the publication of that fact.

We headed to the bank, cashed the checks. Had nice dinner later on money we considered long lost, with plenty of change left over.

We wanted to send a message to the township to never again screw around with us. Message sent, message received. All is well.

By the way if the township paid attention to our first written response they would have saved about $7000.- in various lawyers', investigative, engineering, etc. costs they incurred in this process.

We only wanted our $300.- zoning hearing fees refunded, for which we asked the township supervisors in a public townhall meeting. Go figure!

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Old 01-28-2009, 02:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by yakers View Post
Anyone been to small claims court? Is it like the TV shows?
We've been involved with a number of court issues with DD and her scum-of-the-earth ex-boyfriend (DGDs father). The next one is general district court on 2/9 where he's suing her for $5500 for something, he hasn't told her what. I'll let you know how that comes out.

Our experience is that civil court is very much like the TV shows. The judges do whatever they want, depending on their mood for the day. Sometimes that has worked out in our favor, sometimes not. But I've never seen any indication of jurisprudence or consistancy.

I'm hoping criminal court and more high level stuff is treated more seriously.
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:07 PM   #4
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Do the participants on Court TV (judge judy, peoples court etc) get paid? Do the losers have to pay the "fine" out of their TV pay or other resources?
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #5
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I find so-called "court TV" in specific and "reality TV" in general about as entertaining as watching people take turns scraping their fingernails across a chalk board.

If actual civil court is anything like Judge Judy, etc., I would hate to be at the mercy of the court - as plaintive or defendant. The word "capricious" comes to mind. Rarely is there any verifiable evidence but the judge still "bad mouths" the party s/he rules against - apparently based on how well she has been entertained or flattered by each of the participants.

I think there is a TV show waiting to be produced which takes a couple dozen of these already-decided "cases" and, with appropriate investigation, determines how often the "judge" has actually ruled appropriately. I'd bet it's no better than 2/3 of the time.

Even in criminal courts where there is actual evidence, lawyers, etc. one wonders how often "justice" is done. When you consider the number of death-row inmates sent home due to later Innocence Project efforts, it makes you wonder. I feel sorry for the poor innocent guy (or gal) who is in prison and DNA can't be at issue. DNA seems to be the way 95% of people are ever exonerated. So if it's not a rape related trial, you are probably out of luck in most cases.

What if you were the priest who was convicted of (IIRC) bank robbery, based on eye-witness testimony? DNA wasn't a possible "do-over" for him. He was only exonerated later when the real robber had a fit of conscience after the conviction.

Mentioned elsewhere, I'm a Law and Order junkie (the original, only). I almost always root for the defendant, even when I know s/he is guilty. The state has virtually infinite resources while the defendant has only his own resources. I'm not certain how accurate L&O is, but I'm sure many of the tricks used (by police, prosecution and defense) have a basis in fact. For these reason, I think it would be a good idea to avoid court if at all possible but YMMV
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