The People's Court

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Premiered Sep 12, 1981 In Season

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The People's Court

Show Summary

The People's Court - a throwback to 1950s syndicated courtroom fare such as Traffic Court and The Stand Accused - was set in a small-claims court. The litigants had both agreed to bring their grievances to a California small-claims court, where retired Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Wapner heard the cases. The plaintiffs could file a claim for up to $1,500, while the defendants sometimes filed a countersuit if they felt they were due compensation. While most cases were run-of-the-mill complaints over poor service, broken contracts, ownership rights and malfunctioning merchandise, others had odd twists. For instance: * The overweight stripper who was not paid because the bachelor party-goers thought she was unattractive. During the arguments, she reveals she had gone at the request of her friend, the bride-to-be who found out about the party. * The mother who refused to pay a clown after he came to a birthday party dressed as a towering purple monster (he was supposed to play a Smurf); the clown ended up terrifying the party-goers. * The woman who requested a male friend make good on a verbal contract to pay half of the cost of her daughter's abortion, when she thought he was the father. He had backed out when he was sterile. * A woman who sued the owner of a pitbull after he jumped on the hood of his car. The pitbull's owner claimed she struck the dog and requested payment for the dog's injuries; and even suspected the resulting damage to the car was from a prior accident. And the list of odd cases went on. Each litigant (who, as the announcer reminded viewers each day, were not actors) stated his case before Joseph A. Wapner . After he was through asking questions, he retreated to his chambers before rendering his decision. More than once, he refused to support either side. Each litigant was then interviewed by the courtroom reporter (originally Doug Llewelyn from 1981-1993); sometimes, he gave the results of how courtroom spectators would have decided the case. Usually two cases were heard per show, though some longer cases took up the entire 30 minutes. If time permitted, Wapner fielded questions from the gallery; or legal expert Harvey Levin gave advice on handling that episode's legal scenario (i.e., confronting a car dealer about a car suspected to be a lemon). Each episode ended with Llewelyn admonishing viewers with some variation of the age old advice: "When you get mad, don't take the law into your own hands ... take 'em to court!" The original version of The People's Court ran for 12 years. When The People's Court returned to syndicated TV in 1997, the show expanded to 60 minutes, with Judge Ed Koch (the former New York City mayor) now presiding. Koch lasted until 1999, when Judge Jerry Scheindlin took over in 1999. Judge Marilyn Milian has presided since 2001. The format of the revised The People's Court was essentially similar, except the small claim's court limit was upped to $5,000. Sometimes, the interviewers also asked spectators on-camera their thoughts of a case before the judge's verdict was announced. Related Shows The People's Court UK Carol Smillie is set to present a new UK version of the People's Court for ITV1's new daytime line-up titled itv DAY.moreless

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 0/0/0

Season 2 : Episode 9

Marilyn Milian

Marilyn Milian

Herself/Judge (2001-)

Douglas MacIntosh

Douglas MacIntosh

Himself - the Court Officer (2001-)

Davy Jones

Davy Jones

Himself - the Court Officer (2001)

Rusty Burrell

Rusty Burrell

Bailiff (1981-93)

Ed Koch

Ed Koch

Judge (1997-99)

Harvey Levin

Harvey Levin

Host

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Wrong

    1.0
    Judge Miliano was completely wrong finding that the person that was in rehab for alcohol abuse can impose upon another person to take care of his dog while he is incarcerated for alcohol abuse. There was no contractual obligation to take care of the dog while he was incarcerated. The dog owner never paid anyone to provide for his dog while he was in drug abuse care. Instead the judge finds that the person that did the right thing by having the dog placed in shelter is wrong for her actions. The Alcohol Abuser's dog became an abandoned dog once he entered rehab. Judge Miliano ruling that the friend owed for replacing the dog at a cost of 1000.00 dollars was so erroneous that the question of how this person continues to preside on the People's Court should seriously be considered. Respectfully, USN SPECOMM 1970-1993moreless
  • A joke

    1.0
    The woman is a joke. All she does is talk, talk, talk and makes no sense whatsoever! She is rude, nosy and can't stand it if another woman is better looking than she is! She should give people a chance to present their case, but spends all her time yapping! Sorry, people but she is a lousy judge!
  • peoples court

    3.0
    Back in March I sued the furniture store for selling sectional which he claimed was 100 percent leather, come to realize that sectional was not leather at all. I sued and went to peoples court. The judge was rude, she ruled in my favor. I was awarded a third of the purchase price. I found out that the show pays the defendants payment award and they are trying to minimize the shows expenses by not awarding the full amount.... DON'T GO ON THE SHOW..... IF YOU WIN YOU WILL NOT GET THE WHOLE AWARD... BEWAREmoreless
  • don't go on the show.

    1.0
    I was suing an ex friend because she owes me 1700.00 for Vet bills That i paid for her dog. The judge really won't let me speak and this person lied about everything. The judge said i felt guilty and that is why i paid. , I did it to save her dog life! he was dying, she said cat food got him sick, really ?? cat food, he got sick in her care not mine. she was denied credit so i stepped up so they would work on her dog. To make matters worse, the judge said i also had to pay another 200.00. Really, you didn't think 1700 was enough ??? she got it all wrong, DO NOT GO ON THE SHOW!!!! talk your chances in Small claims court !!! it's not worth being on TV! i I just wanted my money, could care less about being on tv. thought she would be fair, she wasn't .moreless
  • Rude & Prejudice

    1.0
    This judge talks over the litigants and is just plain RUDE. She is so prejudice that the only way for a black to win is to go up against another black. And even then, their winnings are minimal.
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Themes

long running show, Legal, mainstream america