[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/judge_7698.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[HangingJudge Thirty years prison, 570 hours community service]] and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking 40 Ave Marias]]. The hearing is closed! ''[[DropTheHammer *thwack*]]'']]

->'''Judge''': For now I am a Judge!\\
'''Chorus''': And a good Judge too.\\
'''Judge''': Yes, I am a Judge!\\
'''Chorus''': And a good Judge too!\\
'''Judge''': Though all my law is fudge,\\
Yet I'll never, never budge,\\
But I'll live and die a Judge!\\
'''Chorus''': And a good Judge too!
-->--''Theatre/TrialByJury''

Sooner or later, everyone winds up in front of The Judge.

If the part of a judge is a small role, it is generally filled by stern black women (with hair pulled tightly back) or gruff older white men. Sometimes these archetypes mix, leading to the stern, slightly below middle age black male or white female judge.

If there's a tribunal or other situation with more than one judge, both the stern black woman ''and'' the gruff older white man will usually appear, though a BaldBlackLeaderGuy is a distinct possibility. For example, Charlton Heston played the gruff older white man in one of the last episodes of the 90s ''Series/TheOuterLimits'', and there was also a stern black woman present.

It's been said that the above-average presence of black judges in popular media, particular American television is a sort of PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad designed to show African-Americans in positions of authority. This is often a convenient WriterCopOut in shows that otherwise feature very few black characters of any importance.

Supertrope to the HangingJudge who always pursues conviction, almost always of the capital kind.

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!Examples:

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[[folder: Fan Fic ]]

* The CourtroomEpisode of ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' has [[InexplicablyIdenticalIndividuals one of the Kleins]] as the judge. He isn't too fond of Calvin's CourtroomAntics.

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[[folder: Films -- Animated ]]

* The ''RockyAndBullwinkle'' movie had WhoopiGoldberg as Judge Cameo.
* Taken to the logical extreme with [[Series/TheOprahWinfreyShow Oprah Winfrey]] as the judge in ''BeeMovie''.

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[[folder: Films -- Live-Action ]]

* ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' has an stern, older woman as judge. [[spoiler:She gets killed by a car bomb]].
* In ''Film/TheHurricane'', [[OneSceneWonder The Judge]] appears memorably at the film's end with the trial.
* Judge Weaver in ''AnatomyOfAMurder'' was played by Joseph N. Welch, a RealLife lawyer most famous for his TakeThat against Senator Joseph [=McCarthy=] ("Have you no sense of decency, sir?") during the 1954 [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army-McCarthy_hearings Army–McCarthy hearings]]. Welch joked that he took the movie role because it was the closest he'd ever come to being a judge.
* ''Film/BicentennialMan'' had the gruff older white man variety in Andrew's first court appearance, and the stern black woman variety in his second.
* The murder trial in ''Film/MyCousinVinny'' has Judge Heller, a stern stickler for proper procedure who repeatedly jails the title character (a lawyer who needed six tries to pass the bar exam) for contempt of court for failure to follow said procedures. Eventually, his irritation with Vinny leads him to overrule a perfectly valid objection to a SurpriseWitness.
* ''Film/LawAbidingCitizen'': She oversees Shelton's trial, and plays right into his plan. She's also something of a {{Hypocrite}}, such as answering her phone in a meeting with a lawyer she repeatedly chastised for leaving his phone on. [[spoiler:Her phone then explodes, killing her]].

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* Judge J.J. Ford, from the children's mystery novel ''TheWestingGame'', fits the stern black woman version of this trope perfectly. She does mention that she worked hard to be the first black or female judge in the state's history.
* In the ''IncarnationsOfImmortality'' novel "And Eternity", Judge Roque is a pivotal character, first as a ReasonableAuthorityFigure who helps a black prostitute. Later in the story, he takes on much greater importance.
* Pontiff (kind of a Judge-at-large) Farrow in [[Creator/CliveBarker Imajica]] is a wizened old woman.

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* One or more examples is visible in every episode of every series in the ''Franchise/LawAndOrder'' franchise. Sometimes they fall into the "Stern Black Man" or "Stern White Woman" or (on occasion) "Stern Black Woman" castings, but the casting for judges was really quite eclectic (''L&O'' made a point of hiring local New York talent, so any actor of reasonable talent and reasonable age was likely to get a call).
** One notable recurring judge, Janice Goldberg, was played by journalist, satirist, and latter-day DorothyParker Fran Lebowitz. She was exactly as [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]] as you'd expect.
* There was a TV Show called ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Judge_(TV_series) The Judge]]'', starring Robert Shield.
* On ''Series/{{JAG}}'' there were several judges as recurring characters.
** Both Harm and Mac, under various circumstances, gets to serve on the bench in later seasons.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'''s Odo got Judge-like as the series got more and more Arc-ish.
* Both versions have appeared a couple of times on ''Series/{{CSI}}''.
* Averted in ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'', where the semi-recurring and somewhat bemused Judge Ping (presiding George Bluth's trial) is played by the Chinese American Michael Paul Chan.
* Generally averted on ''ThePractice''. Most judges with recurring roles had physical oddities, semi-disruptive personality quirks, or both.
* ''PicketFences'' featured judge Henry Bone. It's hard to find someone better fitting the description "gruff older white man" than Ray Walston without venturing into HangingJudge territory.
* Averted on ''Series/NightCourt'', where the judge is not only the main character but a happy-go-lucky young white guy.
* ''This is Wonderland'' had many judges, being a courtroom drama and all. Perhaps the sternest of them was the African-''Canadian'' woman. There were two old white men, one of whom was the Mental Health Court judge and the [[NiceGuy Nicest Guy]] imaginable, although he [[BewareTheNiceOnes got pretty tough]] in Plea Court. The other was a [[BunnyEarsLawyer eccentric]] [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]] JerkWithAHeartOfGold and a [[MonsterClown clown]] [[MoralityPet fixation]].
* On an episode of ''AllInTheFamily,'' the fact that the judge is a stern black woman is a mild case of SamusIsAGirl, given that at [[TheSeventies the time,]] this sort of portrayal was not as common. It's a borderline example of an UnbuiltTrope.
* An episode of the RichardPrior CBS TV show ''Prior's Place'' had a scene in which a young girl had to appear in Family Court. The woman who played the judge was named Rose Bird, who formerly was Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. (She was voted out of office because of her opposition to the Death Penalty.)

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[[folder: Music ]]

* The judge in ''Music/TheWall''. He only appears in one song, but he is able to force [[JerkassWoobie Pink]], however reluctantly, into tearing down the wall he has built against all of outside society. Unlike most examples, he's not actually real, with the entire trial taking place inside Pink's mind.
* Finnish Rock musician "Tuomari" Nurmio (Judge Nurmio) calls himself as such because he is, in fact, a judge. Or rather, has the degree required to be one.

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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* ''Theatre/TrialByJury'', being a parody of the British legal system of the late 19th century, features a judge who is a greedy and power-hungry buffoon, and gleefully admits to committing and getting away with the same tort the defendant is accused of.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Eiki Shiki in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' is the judge of the dead. Her [[BossSubtitles boss subtitle]] is even ''Highest Judge of the Court of Paradise''.

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[[folder: Visual Novels ]]

* The nameless Judge and his brother (also a judge) from ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' and its sequels. He does not resemble the typical judge seen in Western fiction, as he is indecisive at times and is often very forgiving to the defense. The prosecution, however, can manipulate him very easily, often to the point of doing his job for him. Despite the fact that he's [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} outright senile at times]], he's supposedly renowned as a fair judge who almost always hands down the right verdict.
** In ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigations'' Case 4, Edgeworth, during an investigation, gets to cross-examine ''the Judge himself''. HilarityEnsues, including Your Honor trying to deny Edgeworth an objection, only for Edgeworth to deny him that opportunity. That is to say, ''the Judge gets overruled.''
** Also, the judge's brother is [[CanadaEh Canadian]]. For some reason.
** ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigations 2'' has Hakari Mikagami, a relatively young female judge who, unlike The Judge and his brother, is all business. This is quite unfortunate for Edgeworth, since she's part of the Prosecutorial Purge Committee and hopes to put an end to his career because she believes he is breaking rules and overstepping his bounds in his investigations.
* In ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonVsAceAttorney'' you meet a middle-ages version of the beloved Judge- except this one is wearing creepy purple robes and will gladly send your client into a pit of fire as soon as you make any step because [[WitchHunt all witches must be burnt alive]] even if they haven't done anything bad- their crime is ''existing''. The judge from the main series is dumb but lovable, this one is downright disturbing.

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[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Liam the Leprechaun plays the role of a judge in TheAnnoyingOrange CourtroomEpisode. Needless to say, he's not a very good judge.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* The judge on ''TheSimpsons'' is a gruff older ''black'' man, sort of combining the two archetypes.
** They also have a stern white woman, an over-the-top caricature of TV's ''JudgeJudy''.
* ''{{Futurama}}'' had Judge Whitey, and older white man with a [[AmericanAccents prep accent]].

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[[folder: Other ]]

* Silvester from [[http://www.shapequest.net Shape Quest]] is a high judge in his own country.

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