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Series / Judge Mathis

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Judge Mathis is an American arbitration courtroom series presided by Greg Mathis, a retired Michigan’s 36th District Court judge and black motivational speaker. It has aired since September 13, 1999, and is taped at the NBC Tower in Chicago. Mathis' bailiff is comic and actor Doyle Devereux, who is the series' second bailiff, following Brendan Moran (who passed away tragically in December 2002).


Judge Mathis contains examples of the following:

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  • Abusive Parents: In one emotionally charged case, the plaintiff was accusing her sister, the defendant, of keeping her teenage daughter (who had moved in with the defendant) away from her. The defendant hit back with an audio recording in which the plaintiff not only admitted to abusing the girl but was totally unrepentant. After giving the plaintiff an epic "Reason You Suck" Speech, Judge Mathis awarded the defendant $3500 on her countersuit for the emotional distress of having to deal with the abuse of her niece, and announced he would send the audio recording to the authorities and have the plaintiff prosecuted for abuse.
    Judge Mathis: [to plaintiff] I heard you loud and clear, and so did everybody in here. When she said, "You're slapping her and you're punching her," you said you've been doing it for 13 years and you ain't gonna stop now. [over plaintiff's continued protests] And then again, "Imma beat her 'a' every time." You think somebody wanna come home to you? I heard you with my own ears. SHUT UP! SHUT UP, YOU CHILD ABUSER! YOU NEED TO BE LOCKED UP! [Audience applause]
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  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mathis is generally nice as far as TV judges go, but he doesn’t put up with ridiculous cases or with particularly odious individuals. Abusive parents in particular will trigger his Berserk Button.
  • Catchphrase: Judge Mathis begins each case by telling the plaintiff, "Start with you," or "Prove your case."
    • Doyle [bailiff]: "All rise! This court is now in session, the Honorable Judge Greg Mathis presiding. ... You may now be seated."
  • Papa Wolf: Judge Mathis is very much one when it comes to dealing with abused children and ripping the perpetrators of said abuse a new one.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Mathis is a reformed juvenile delinquent who credits his mother for helping get him on the right path, "from jail to Judge," as he often says. As such, he's committed to helping uplift young people, especially young African-American men.
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