Is Judge Judy a fraud?

She is the highest paid “judge” in the world. In reality, she’s a private arbitrator who pretends to be a real judge on her famous court TV show, but that is not why she might be a fraud, at least not according to this critical blog post by Alex Mayyasi (via Priceonomics). According to Mr Mayyasi’s Priceonomics post, Judge Judy “reiterates the theme of responsibility and accountability over and over … On her show, she gives a tongue lashing to defendants who make excuses and reprimands victims who exercise poor judgment.” But in reality, after she admonishes guilty defendants and orders them to pay for what they’ve done, it’s the producers of her show who end up paying for those damages. (See the sample letter below the fold.) Nevertheless, we respectfully disagree with Mr Mayassi’s analysis. It’s true that when defendants agree to go on Judge Judy’s TV show, they do so in exchange for avoiding liability in their original court cases. But that said, there is still some positive probability that the defendant in any given case will prevail. Moreover, win or lose, the defendant is still assuming the very real residual risk that Judge Judy will embarrass him or her before a national audience. By accepting this risk (i.e. by willingly subjecting themselves to the possibility of such ridicule and embarrassment from Judge Judy), the defendants are, in fact, assuming responsibility for their actions, at least on some level. What do you think?

Winner of Best Book Title

Sounds like a good deal to us.

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