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12 Things I Learned from TV Court Shows

By Calalily in Media
Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 02:46:05 AM EST
Tags: Media (all tags)

To learn about the insidiousness of human nature, just watch the plethora of reality TV court shows over-populating TV. There's Judge Judy, People's Court, Divorce Court, Judge Alex, and Judge Joe Brown and more.

These shows will IN FACT teach you to save money and offer realistic solutions to common court problems if you actually listen to the judges. Here are the twelve lessons I have learned.

Lesson One: You can save money by never lending money to any one. If you do lend money, never expect to be paid back. Especially not by family members (even Mom), because they will screw you in the end and call you a liar, while twisting the knife in your back. They will also reveal to the world everything bad you have ever done. Additional FYI: People asking for bond/bail money never pay the person back citing it was a "gift" of love or friendship.

Lesson Two: If you're too dense to believe lesson one and lend money to someone, get a promissory note of the money owed to you, actually signed by the lendee, AND make sure there are payment guidelines included. It also helps if you can get it notarized. If you write a check, in the memo portion on the check, write loan with payment due on such and such a date and have lendee initial. This advice includes using credit cards to pay someone else's bills, and buying something for someone until they can pay you back. Additional FYI: If it's for bond/bail money get the person's relative who is asking for the money to sign a promissory note and/or as soon as the person is sprung get them to sign a note.

Lesson Three: If you are given expensive "gifts" of money, or objects such as cars, jewelry, furniture, etc, keep all letters, emails, and tape phone conversations where the person giving the gifts is actually saying those items are gifts. Keep forever, because when you stop putting out they will want all that stuff back and claim it was a loan.

Lesson Four: If you are the jackass giving the expensive items to the money grubbing whore in Lesson Three, on condition they will pay you back, get it in writing. See Lesson Two above.

Lesson Five: Verbal agreements are worthless pieces of shit. If you are a business person, self-employed or otherwise, use contracts for all your transactions and keep every single receipt, written or emailed communication, and document every phone conversation in a phone log. Keep a log of every visit with dates and times to the person's home and have them initial or better yet sign the log before you leave the premises (to prove you were there). (Of course, that won't work if you're a prostitute or sell crack but see Lesson Eight for some "special advice".) This is especially important if you charge hourly rates, but even if you do daily or chunking of time, the person can say in court that you were never there. Keep until the warranty for the work is over and/or indefinitely depending on the type of work done.

Lesson Six: Once again, the verbal agreement is crap. If you are a person contracting with someone to do work for you, see Lesson Five, only reverse to protect yourself. Actually read the contract(s) line by line. Ignorance of what you are signing is no excuse. Put everything in writing, especially if anything changes from the original contract. Keep any and all written communication including emails to and from the person(s), and keep any receipts for expenses or for items that you purchased that were necessary to get the job done. Keep a log of when they arrived and when they left. Make sure all fees and monies to be owed is spelled out in advance so there are no surprises.  Keep until the warranty for the work is over and/or indefinitely depending on the type of work done.

Lesson Seven: If you have a police report about the incident for which you are suing, be sure and bring it to court. Make sure your version matches the police report's version or pretty damn close, or forget about suing in the first place. Always call the police and get a police report at the scene of an accident otherwise it will be your word against theirs. Same is true for vandalism, get the police involved and get a report.

Lesson Eight: If you have done something in the course of business or pleasure that is illegal DO NOT SUE the person you were doing it with for the money they owe you DUMB ASS!. The civil court will turn you in to the criminal authorities if they believe a crime was committed. The court proceedings in small claims or civil courts will be used against you in a criminal trial.  And, if you were indicted and found guilty in a criminal trial, understand they will find you the responsible party (at fault) in the civil trail 99.9% of the time.

Lesson Nine: If you have a criminal case or even another civil case pending, keep your friggin mouth shut! If the other party to the law suit knows, they WILL tell the judge and then you are screwed. BUT you can refuse to comment as the case is pending. In the meantime, what the judge doesn't know won't hurt you. Anything you say, can, and probably will be used against you in the other case.

Lesson Ten: Lesson I learned from "real" Court TV: You are guilty until proven innocent (Think Scott and Michael Peterson) Watching Nancy Grace will prove that point readily enough and contaminate the jury pool against you; unless you are a cop, prison guard, or Florida juvenile boot camp guard or nurse, or famous actor; They are innocent before, during, and after trial (except for the cop Drew Peterson who is being fried in the press). And what is up with all the Petersons killing their wives for christ sake?

Lesson Eleven: There always will be probable cause to search your vehicle or your person, according to an officer of the law (your word against his - he'll win every time). This is  proven on Cops and Court TV repeatedly; you can be stopped for anything, anywhere, anytime, AND the search will never be called illegal, (unless it is a high profile criminal case on Court TV, where the Judge doesn't want to look stupid, so later, he can get his own TV court reality show).

Lesson Twelve: Watch TV court shows; The ass you save could be your own.


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12 Things I Learned from TV Court Shows | 54 comments (35 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
Lesson Thirteen: (2.66 / 3) (#12)
by Booger on Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 04:22:27 PM EST

Be sure the coffee you order in the McDonald's drive-thru is piping hot.

I did think of a derogatory term for white people--RICH. Call some white guy RICH and it doesn't matter how much money they have, they'll start squealin about how oh they wish they were rich.--tdillo

+1 fpThis was on okay article (3.00 / 7) (#15)
by Tex two point oh on Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 07:02:38 PM EST

Basically most of your points come down to detailed record keeping, which obviously is a good policy to have.

Contrary to popular opinion, a verbal agreement is a contract and is usually binding subject to your state's statute of frauds (which has few exceptions, like purchases of real estate). Obviously nevertheless you have to prove the existence of the contract (agreement) in court so it helps to have a written document.

All of the judge shows are an absolute farce. The most reasonable in terms of application of the law seems to be The People's Court and Judge Judy. The absolute worst is this one black woman who does the paternity tests (in fact on that particular show I never know exactly what the legal controversy actually is.) Most of these shows spend way too much time asking the litigants questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the case, so it's really just a Jerry Springer type talk show where the host berates the guests.

Regarding COPS, I watch this show from time to time and every so often I do see flagrant violations of 4th amendment rights. One episode I saw a cop go into someone's home and arrest him without exigent circumstances or a search/arrest warrant. Well let's just say the Supreme Court gives the cops a lot of leeway on vehicle searches but when it comes to a person's home just busting in is a big no-no. (Even Scalia recognizes 4th amendment rights when it comes to the home) But if you watch COPS you notice they only go to the ghetto or white trash neighborhoods, so they're not counting on most of these defendants having access to criminal procedure lawyers or constitutional law professors. And supposing they did the DA is not going to waste time fighting a meritorious motion to exclude evidence in the case of the 2 grams of marijuana that most of these criminals on COPS are busted for.

Verbal agreements on TV court shows NEVER... (none / 1) (#21)
by Calalily on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 10:06:47 AM EST

...hold up, but I know they are legally binding. They are really hard to prove though unless you have rock solid witnesses to verify. On 4th Ammnedment: A friend had cops bust into his apartment without a warrant or probably cause (they followed some run away kid who suposedly just ran into his apartment-smell set up?) and then detained everyone for hours, searched the apartment, found pot and tools ... only he got busted. There's a lot more to the story, but suffice it say no illegal entry or illegal detention according to lawyers and judge.
It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.(Unknown)
[ Parent ]
the cops are allowed to chase a fleeing suspect (none / 0) (#24)
by Tex two point oh on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 10:29:27 AM EST

into a home

they are also allowed to detain occupants of a house incident to a search. as for whether the search of the home is justified, who knows but on these "heard it from a friend" stories always a ton of stuff is left out

[ Parent ]

Moral of the Story: (none / 1) (#25)
by Josh Smith II on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 10:55:45 AM EST

If you're a druggie and there's drugs in the house, don't flee into it. Better to tear open your baggies and run through a ditch or something so there's nothing the cops can really collect.

-- Josh Smith recommends you take a hulver hike.
[ Parent ]
The suspect was a run away hanging out... (none / 0) (#26)
by Calalily on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 11:05:57 AM EST

and ran into an apartment fleeing the police. Had nothing to do with the occupants who lived in the apartment.
It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.(Unknown)
[ Parent ]
Moral #2 (none / 0) (#27)
by Josh Smith II on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 11:08:11 AM EST

If someone you hate is a druggie, get the cops chasing after you and run into their house. Problem solved.

-- Josh Smith recommends you take a hulver hike.
[ Parent ]
Yeh, don't phone in an anonymous tip... (none / 0) (#38)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:18:33 AM EST

Or they'll get the address wrong on the warrant and have swat storm their 80 yr old neighbor's home, killing her because she had a bible in her hands.

Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
the cops are allowed to (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by Tex two point oh on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 11:23:41 AM EST

search an area of a house within the immediate reach of the suspect who's arrested even if they don't have a search warrant. the rationale is that he may immediately lunge into something for a weapon or something and put the cops in jeopardy. the court has upheld this even when the perp is handcuffed so it's a bit silly in reality but then again a lot of the cases are like that.  

[ Parent ]
i know of a case where... (none / 1) (#37)
by mikelist on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 05:27:00 AM EST

...the handshake deal fell through because michigan statutes put a limit on the value ($2500, i think)that can be legally transferred without paper.

[ Parent ]
it's $500 in every state (none / 0) (#53)
by Wide Stance Bathroom on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 01:40:54 PM EST

the good old Universal Commerce Code.

[ Parent ]
Record keeping at its best. (none / 0) (#35)
by xC0000005 on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 07:33:27 PM EST

The electrified bathtub teaches the value of good record keeping. This guy is meticulous. I actually pity the people he's up against.

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]
"never loan money to friends" (none / 1) (#16)
by Morally Inflexible on Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 07:24:51 PM EST

"if you must, give him the money.  It costs just as much and you get to keep the friend."

heh.  I've had good luck with loans to friends I could hire;  we work out a hourly wage ahead of time and they just work it off;   I've never been ripped off this way, but of course I don't think I've loaned more than 40-50 hours worth of money, and only to people who have skills I can use.  Most people will try to pay you back if it's not too difficult; but most people looking for loans are the sort that have the hardest time paying you back.  

As for the article, court-tv is a small step above springer.  I can't stand it.  

I never saw any fights in a court room on TV (none / 1) (#17)
by achievingfluidity on Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 10:04:08 PM EST

staged or otherwise.

I don't load people money. Sure I tell them it is a load but in my mind I dont give it to them unless I can afford to never get paid back. That way I am never disappointed.


[ Parent ]

You don't watch enough TV court shows. (none / 0) (#22)
by Calalily on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 10:10:35 AM EST

They don't happen often, but often enough to keep it interesting. One father attacked the killer of his son, lunging over the table and knocking over lawyers and the killer. Lots of relatives who lose someone to violence or drunk driving attempt to try and attack the accused more often then you think but are stopped by officers of the court and are dragged out of the court room sometimes kicking and screaming.
It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.(Unknown)
[ Parent ]
1 Thing I Have Learnt From American TV (none / 1) (#23)
by jolt rush soon on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 10:23:06 AM EST

Judge Judy has a face like the surface of a monster truck's tyre.
Subosc — free electronic music.
maybe it's because i'm old, ... (3.00 / 5) (#40)
by mikelist on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 04:43:00 PM EST

...but i'd hit that repeatedly. my wife would kill me, but then she'll eventually kill me anyway.

[ Parent ]
Cynisism at its finest. (none / 1) (#31)
by tetsuwan on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 11:44:41 AM EST

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance

Realism at its finest (none / 0) (#50)
by svampa on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 08:04:01 PM EST

I would like to die like my father did, sleeping, unwitting. Not screaming terrified like his passengers

[ Parent ]
Re: #11 (none / 1) (#33)
by rpresser on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 05:32:56 PM EST

They will always have probable cause, because they don't want to screw up, and if they don't have probable cause they're not going to search you.
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
CONDENSED VERSION: (3.00 / 3) (#34)
by shoemaker on Wed Nov 14, 2007 at 05:44:41 PM EST


Austin 3:16 had it right (none / 0) (#36)
by Enlarged to Show Texture on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 04:29:04 AM EST

No film at any hour

"Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do." -- Isaac Asimov
[ Parent ]
#1 thing I learned from watching COPS (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by circletimessquare on Thu Nov 15, 2007 at 10:56:46 AM EST

1. don't run from the police, crackhead

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

I had a different take. (3.00 / 3) (#41)
by TDS on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 02:19:10 AM EST

Run from the police, particularly if they can't drive because they are all fat waddling fuckwits.

Perhaps we get a different edit of COPS or something?

Ever see that episode where they need 6 squad cars to follow a dude on a BMX bike and he gets away?
Gotta fancy your chances.

And when we die, we will die with our hands unbound. This is why we fight.
[ Parent ]

well it is propaganda (none / 1) (#43)
by circletimessquare on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 11:09:47 AM EST

i'm surprised they showed someone get away. all the cops shows i've seen they always catch the guy. but honestly, i don't watch much cops

i'm certian that for every episode where they get their man, there are 10 more incidents filmed, but never appearing on the show, that involves cop bungling simple things and the perp getting away

ps: i called it propaganda, but i consider it good propaganda: it serves as a lesson to simpleminded folks: DON'T FUCKING RUN FROM THE COPS. you always wind up fucked up when you run from them. just lie low and take the process. and DON'T BE A FUCKING WIFE BEATING TWEAKER. it's valuable object lessons in life for some people, the show. good propaganda, serves a social need

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

that certainly fits your fascist world view nicely (none / 0) (#51)
by chlorus on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 10:51:04 PM EST

Peahippo: Coked-up internet tough guy or creepy pedophile?
[ Parent ]

dude you're cool (none / 1) (#52)
by circletimessquare on Thu Nov 22, 2007 at 11:35:51 PM EST

you like to throw around the word fascist alot. you think it has bite, venom

i just think you don't really know what the word means, or what fascism is

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

what i want to see (3.00 / 4) (#44)
by jolt rush soon on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 06:24:34 PM EST

america's cleverest criminals
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
Already done (3.00 / 6) (#45)
by blackpaw on Sun Nov 18, 2007 at 02:20:45 AM EST

Its called C-SPAN

[ Parent ]
#1 thing I learned from JERRY SPRINGER (3.00 / 4) (#42)
by it certainly is on Fri Nov 16, 2007 at 09:54:16 AM EST

If she won't let you get to third base, she's pre-op. If you marry her anyway, you're a dumb-ass.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

CRAP GOES TO FP (1.08 / 12) (#46)
by ray eckson on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 04:31:07 PM EST


wampsy: hey ray why don't you start up a site. you could call it ray5.
rusty: I gotta fix that stupid cancel bug.
booger: How's that for daring to get ray eckson all sniffy, you cow?
poopy: Not that I'm gay or anything, but for you I might make an exception.
excellent considering what (none / 0) (#47)
by yellow shark on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 12:30:40 AM EST

has been on the front page lately.

sharing property is for married couples (2.50 / 2) (#48)
by ebunga on Tue Nov 20, 2007 at 06:42:29 PM EST

Another important lesson is to NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES share property with someone other than a spouse.  I don't care if your room mate and best friend of 15 years want a big screen plasma TV.  If neither of you can afford it on your own, don't buy it.  It's the best way to doom a friendship and end up in court.  I seem to recall both Judge Judy and Joe Brown specifically stating this on numerous occasions.

Also, splitting the lease on an apartment or house is a bad move.  If you can't afford the place on your own, don't rent it.  Sure you may still be the best of friends in the world, but sometimes people change jobs and need to move to a new place a few thousand miles away.

It bears repeating.  If a non-trivial amount of money or anything of value changes hands or should change hands upon completion of some task or other duties, get it in writing.  I don't care if it's your best friend or even your mother, get it in writing.  Misunderstandings happen even with contracts, but at least with a contract there is some instrument that shows the agreement between the two parties.

OMG, I left that out! n/t (none / 0) (#49)
by Calalily on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 01:08:11 PM EST

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.(Unknown)
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't it be more helpful just to specify (none / 0) (#54)
by vectro on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 06:08:55 PM EST

Exactly how the sharing agreement is supposed to work? It strikes me as a rather isolating life to share nothing with no one.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
12 Things I Learned from TV Court Shows | 54 comments (35 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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