"They are actual litigants with a case pending in civil court."
These are the words that you hear at the top of every episode of The People's Court, whether your favorite judge is Joseph Wapner, the late great NYC Mayor Ed Koch, Judy's equally tough-talking hubby Jerry Sheindlin, or even the first female (and longest serving since this version began) Marilyn Milian.
Somehow it irritates me that some people will go so far as to say that the show is fake, just because it's not a real court. Sorry to break it to those critics..you're half-right, half-wrong. It is not a real court, but it is still RUN like a real court.
2 examples of this:
1. There was one clip on YouTube in particular of a defendant who DANCED his way into the courtroom and was rightfully called out on it by Judge Milian. Some people were saying she shouldn't have done that. HELLO?! You don't EVER walk into a courtroom like that!
2. There is also another clip of a law student (the defendant) who disagrees with Milian's ruling by saying "It's your opinion." She is greatly offended by those words, and she even tells him that she's got a law degree from Florida to prove she knows more than he does! And some people were telling her she was being disrespectful. NO...HE was being disrespectful towards HER. It doesn't matter whether you like a judge's decisions or not..you have to respect those decisions. It's not easy, but that's what you have to live with. Nonetheless, she ruled for the plaintiff for $450..plus court costs.
And a note about the disclaimer that some people may miss at the end of each show...It says the plaintiff and the defendant are paid from a fund set up by the show. The judgment amount if any is then deducted from the fund, and the two parties share the remaining balance. So remember, the losing party doesn't really pay the winning party.
And I gotta hand it to the critics--you think TV judges are fake? Some of the names I mentioned were real judges before becoming TV judges..and they still have their knowledge of the laws which allows them to make their rulings.