When you are watching Reality Television that is filmed in a courtroom setting, remember one thing; In no way, shape or form is this a legitimate and true to life depiction of civil proceedings that are part of the U.S. Legal System.
To begin with, the presiding individual has no legal authority, they are playing the role of judge.
( Yes, they may have been a legitimate court official in the past, but not in this setting.) Many times their manner, vocabulary and rulings are so outrageous, that if it had been done while sitting on the bench, it could have been grounds for censure or removal from office. Their tough love search for truth is a sham, that often borders on the ludicrous. Dialogue that includes name calling, ridicule and personal insults puts this make believe setting on the same intellectual level with a grade school playground.
Oh, by the way, the Bailiffs are also fake. No real authority, just window dressing. (Although, in the past, they may have held such a position in an official capacity.)
The cases are researched by staffers, and include suggestions sent in by viewers who may be involved in an actual civil case currently pending.
Here are a few more things that differentiate Reality Court T.V., from an actual court of law;
- The Plaintiff and Defendant must sign an ARBITRATION AGREEMENT. This binds them both to accept the judgment, and to not litigate it further. ( Except in the rare case where it is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.)
- Both sides are usually paid an appearance fee. In addition, travel expenses are paid, and a daily stipend may be given to both sides.
- Any judgments are paid from a fund set up by the producers, not from either party involved in the lawsuit.
- There have been accusations of contrived and scripted cases, that were either partially or totally made up fiction. Care to guess what would happen if this was attempted in a true court of law, where both sides are trying to DEFRAUD THE COURT? In the U.S. it is called a FELONY.
In the end, Reality Courtroom Television is just another example of mind numbing and tasteless programming, from a genre that constantly looks for new ideas to pollute the airways. All in the name of entertainment.
Look for PT 11.