Judging bailiffs from television judges
Much of daytime television is filled with court programs, which appear to be extremely popular. In the local area alone, six hours of courtroom dramas are broadcast between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on three television stations.
All the judges are well known, as all but two of the shows are named after the robed man or woman waving the gavel on the bench. These people have become celebrities and, in one case, the highest paid person on television.
Less well known, but almost as vital to the shows, are the bailiffs. Each one has a personality that complements the judicial ruler at his side, thus contributing to the entertainment of the cases.
The first sheriff to gain some notoriety was Rusty Burrell, who kept order for Joe Wapner in the early years of “The People’s Court.” So vital was Burrell’s presence that Wapner, after taking over “Animal Court” for the Animal Planet network, insisted that Burrell be hired alongside him.
Burrell’s replacement on “The People’s Court” was Josephine Ann Longobardi, who served as a bailiff on the show when former New York City Mayor Ed Koch replaced Wapner on the bench. She, for some reason, never matched Burrell’s attractiveness, so her tenure was much shorter than his.
Today’s bailiffs have acquired a loyal following, no doubt aided by the onslaught of the internet and social media that did not exist during previous programs. Here are my five favorite sheriffs, ranked in descending order.
5. Juan Bustamante from “Judge Faith”
He’s a big, clean officer who doesn’t hesitate to tell litigants to shut up or wait their turn.
4. Sonia Montejano from “Hot Bench”
A veteran on television, Montejano used to hold the same court position as Joe Brown during his tenure in organizing. Her greatest strength is probably her fluency in Spanish, which is often helpful to the trio of Tonya Acker, Patricia Dimango, and Larry Bakman.
3. Doyle Devereaux from “Judge Mathis”
He provides comical relief by making nostalgic remarks during cases, and his sense of humor is like Greg Mathis’s own. Too often, you can’t help but laugh when interviewing litigants after their cases.
2. Douglas MacIntosh from “The People’s Court
Judge Marilyn Milian has this former professional soccer player at her service, who appears to be fit enough to dress for the National Soccer League. Added to her charms are her captivating humor and polite delicacy.
1. Petri-Hawkins Byrd from “Judge Judy”
The right hand to the left of Judith Scheindlin is known simply as Byrd, who only speaks when addressing him. Throughout the cases, she works on crossword puzzles while occasionally researching the car’s blue book or helping Judy work on a cell phone.