Americans just can't get enough courtroom drama, as is evidenced by yet another addition into the daytime court show fray. Former judge and prosecutor Kevin Ross adjudicates real cases, in which he tries to show litigants alternative ways of dealing with their issues and make them consider the consequences of their actions.
Judge Mablean Ephriam, who presided over "Divorce Court" from 1999-2006 as the first star of the revived version of the show, returns to the courtroom genre with his half-hour series that deals with life and the law. The former Los Angeles-based prosecutor takes on the typical cases that are found on TV court shows. The arbitrator says that her show "will be life because everything we do, it involves the law."
Faith Jenkins' life has taken her on a path from being a Louisiana beauty queen to Wall Street attorney and a tough prosecutor in New York, and now she brings her justice background to television as the star of her own court show. The no-nonsense judge presides over arbitration-based cases that are presented by defendants. As in most courts, televised or otherwise, some cases are straightforward while others have some twists to them.
Cuban-born Alex Ferrer -- a former police officer, trial attorney and criminal court judge -- presides over a charged courtroom where he hears landlord disputes, complaints from consumers and other small-claims cases.
Judge Glenda Hatchett presided over her self-titled courtroom show from 2000-2008. Now, she returns to the medium with "The Verdict." In the half-hour series, the Atlanta native and former juvenile-court judge rules over small-claims cases brought in front of her. Hatchett's courtroom isn't just about finding someone guilty, though. She also uses her experience dealing with young people and her tough-love approach to help send a message to out-of-control juvenile offenders to try to set them on the right track in their lives.
A judge hears small-claims cases in this series that served as a template for several similar courtroom series. The litigants in the case agree to drop their lawsuits and have the case heard on the show. Since the show is not a real courtroom, the decision is simply binding arbitration the litigants agree to abide by.
Judge Greg Mathis is unlike most adjudicators you'd see in a courtroom. The former Detroit-area district court judge infuses his court sessions with a generous dose of humor as he listens to diverse litigants plead their small-claims cases in his TV courtroom. A regular segment, Ask Judge Mathis, features the judge answering viewer questions to advise people with legal situations that they face. Prior to entering the legal world, Mathis was involved with gangs and spent time in jail as a young man before turning his life around.
This courtroom series stars former family court judge Judy Sheindlin. Each episode finds Judge Judy presiding over real small-claims cases inside a televised courtroom. Her no-nonsense, wisecracking approach has been unsuccessfully copied by other TV court judges.
Many popular court shows are on TV. How can the genre improve? How about using a three-judge panel? That's the concept of "Hot Bench," created by Judge Judy Sheindlin. After hearing each case, the judges discuss it among themselves before rendering a verdict. The jurists are experienced civil litigator Tanya Acker, New York State Supreme Court Justice Patricia DiMango, and former criminal defense attorney Larry Bakman. The show's title comes from a term describing a court action in which a judge frequently interrupts lawyers with questions.
Judge Cristina Pérez presides over small-claims court arbitrations.