Judith Sheindlin

American television judge

Judith Sheindlin (born October 21, 1942) is an American lawyer, judge, TV personality and author, best known to the public as Judge Judy after her internationally popular daytime TV program of the same name. She is well-known for her sharp tongue and no-nonsense wit. Her bailiff on the show is Petri Hawkins-Byrd.

Judith Sheindlin in 2012

Quotes From Judge Judy Cases


Dress, Stand, and/or Speak Properly

  • said on nearly every episode, when interrupted by a litigant: I'm speaking! [1]
  • to a defendant's witness wearing a T-shirt reading "BEER EQUALS FUN": Mr. Gordon, that's a ridiculous shirt that you chose to wear to court today. ... I don't know what kind of statement you thought you were making, but if you wanted to leave the impression on this piece of tape that you're going to have on posterity for your children that you are an intelligent, thinking person, that shirt you're wearing belies that fact. [2]
  • "Yep" is not an answer! [3]
  • You're going to keep your mouth shut until I come to you and ask you a question, then you're going to speak; otherwise Byrd will take you outside until you understand the rules, 'cause here, I'm in charge. [4]
  • If you tell the truth, you don't have to have a good memory. If you lie, you're always tripping over your own tie. [5] ("If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything" - Mark Twain)
  • to a defendant raising his hand to speak while plaintiff is speaking: You wanna lose, fast? [6]
  • Why don't you SHUT UP and listen?! [7]
  • to a defendant who called the plaintiff a "witch" after the judge ruled in the plaintiff's favor: You gotta learn to behave yourself, madam. I have a feeling you have a pretty hot temper - not as hot as mine. That's all - out! [8]
  • You're irritating me. It's not a good thing to start off by irritating the person who's supposed to decide your case. [9]
  • after someone in audience applauds, causing plaintiff to burst into tears: If there's any more noise from our gallery, you're gonna leave. Got it? [10]
  • Did that sound like a rhetorical question? It wasn't. I want you to answer it, capisce? Now, THAT was a rhetorical question! See the difference?
  • There's just one person who's allowed to ask, or answer, rhetorical questions in my courtroom -- and that's me! Understand? No, don't answer! There you go again.
  • I want you to stop getting hysterical over NOTHING! [11]
  • Whoever you think you are, you do not talk to me that way. Not ever. I am not your daughter. How you speak to your own child in your own house is your own business. You can make her cry for all I care; she's your kid, not mine. But that's her, it isn't me. Or can't you tell the two of us apart? Because if you can't, then you've got a far more serious problem than the one that brought you here today. That bigger problem is Byrd.
  • to a defendant's witness wearing torn jeans: I'm looking in your direction trying to figure out whether you accidentally tripped on your way coming into court today, or whether you selected those pants because you thought that they were attractive. [12]

Being Cocky

  • I'm not 25, and I'm not 5'8". But I know when someone is pulling my leg. [13]
  • Let me tell you something. This is my playpen, and I get the last word. [14]
  • I mean, did you think I was just a fake person here, that they picked out of, you know, that they picked out of a supermarket? Didn't you think that I had any legal experience at all, sir? [15]
  • I got you ten ways from Sunday, madam! [16]
  • Mr. Britton, don't be a wise guy, because I'm gonna mop up the floor with you if you're a wise guy to me. This is my playpen, not yours. [17]
  • DON'T SPEAK! See how fast I can get the smile off your face? [18]
  • (To a law student) Does the word "shyster" mean anything to you?
  • (To a football player) If you lie to me, I'll mop the floor with you worse than anyone who's ever tackled you.
  • (To a legal intern) Would you mind telling me who you blackmailed, bribed, or slept with to get that diploma? I'd like to mail them a sympathy card.
  • Let me tell you something: if you live to be a hundred, you'll never be as smart as I am in one finger.
  • ...Did you just call me Nurse Ratched!? Byrd. Get rid of him. Now.
  • If I could fine you for stupid, I would fine you for stupid. [19]

Being Funny

  • Let me explain something to you, Fresh Mouth: I'm the only one who makes jokes. [20]
  • to a defendant who claimed he was receiving Worker's Compensation for a bad knee: Well, what did you think you were going to do for UPS, deliver babies? [21]
  • after throwing the defendant and his witness out of the courtroom: I have other things to do today. I have to get home! [points to her wristwatch] JUDGE JUDY IS ON!!! [audience laughs] [22]
  • Don't be a wise guy in here, sir. There's only one wise person in here - and that's Byrd. [23]
  • Try not to be too nervous. I only digest litigants on Thursday. [24]
  • I don't know why a 57-year-old man would loan an 18-year-old cashier at Whole Foods $250. I don't know why a man would do that. But I can tell you one thing: my husband's not going to Whole Foods anymore. [25]

Dismissing a Statement or Case

  • Your lawsuit is such a crock of baloney. [26]
  • NO it wasn't a gift, you FOOL! [27]
  • Oh, sit down! You're as dumb as he is! [28]
  • You pulled out a gun, and you shot the gun over FLOWERS! Are you a MORON?!! ... You should be hiding under a rock, not acting as plaintiff in a lawsuit! [29]
  • to a young woman who was being sued by her aunt for a loan for breast augmentation: And instead of her paying it back every month, you should pay it back every month - certainly you don't go in and get bigger breasts while somebody is sitting there paying back money that they "gave" to you during the course of an emergency! And I don't care if she's harassing you and your family, because quite frankly, you deserve to be harassed! Judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of $3500, that's all. [30]
  • to a young woman suing a former friend for a broken toilet: The toilet broke while she was using it - that doesn't mean that she broke it, and it doesn't mean that she's responsible for it! Toilets break - I had one just break in my apartment last week! Cost me $650 to put in a new toilet! You think I went around to try to find the last person who sat on it? [audience breaks into laughter] Don't be STUPID! GROW UP! That's all. [31]
  • to a mother who moved her daughter across the country so that the girl's father couldn't see her, because her fiancee was offered a new job: I don't care whether your fiancee was elected President of the United States! You have no right to move your child across the country without [the father's] permission! [32]
  • Consider yourself having been reasonably humiliated in front of ten million people. Now, without saying another word, turn around, and find the exit. Goodbye. [33]
  • I don't care whether you had a 30-day notice, a 3-day notice, or a partridge in a pear tree! [34]
  • You say no, I say yes; I win, I'm the judge. Goodbye. [35]
  • I don't care about your stress! You should care about my stress; I'm older than you are! (25 Aug 2016 show)
  • to a mother of three suing the defendant for an assault: You don't belong out at a club [at] 12:30 at night when you have a one-year-old, a two-year-old, a five-year-old and a 12-year-old! You belong HOME, reading them stories from a BOOK! [36]


  • Judy: (to defendant, who took 17 purses and 21 belts from the plaintiff to sell on consignment, and was being sued because the plaintiff never got her money or the merchandise back) Where are they? [referring to merchandise]
    Defendant: I couldn't sell them, and...
    Judy: So what did you do with them?
    Defendant: I threw them away.
    Judy: Well then, you're the dumbest thing that I've seen all day! What do you mean, you threw 'em away? You think that I believe that? That's what you wrote in your answer. I said, "I have to see the person who says to me..." [audience laughs] "...that I couldn't sell them so I threw 'em away." You think that I believe that? That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!
    Defendant: I couldn't sell them---
    Judy: Why would you want to tell ten million people - how stupid a response that you could make up in your head and expect somebody to believe!!! [37]
    • Defendant: (from above case) They basically were trash.
      Judy: What?
      Defendant: They were trash.
      Judy: So what'd you go get 'em for?!
      Plaintiff: Yeah. (Judy turns to her and gives her a signal to be quiet) Um, okay, okay...
      Judy: Do I look like I need help from you?!
      Plaintiff: No, no, you don't. No, you really don't. No...
      Defendant: I mean, judge, it was really hard to sell. It was really hard to sell. It was really hard to sell...
      Judy: Beauty fades, dumb is definitely forever. You owe her $1100; that's all, step out. [38]

  • Judy: [after catching defendant in a lie; he admitted that he was living with his witness when a few moments earlier he had said he wasn't] PERFECT! So now you're living back together again. And why, Nick, did you feel as if it was necessary to lie to me a moment ago?
    Defendant: I... have been staying in Minneapolis every now and then... but I... didn't mean to lie to you.
    Judy: There's another reason, Nick.
    Defendant: There's no reason to lie. I'm sorry.
    Judy: Well...
    Defendant's Witness: Not many people know that he is staying there with me.
    Judy: Now ten million people know that he's staying with you. [Audience laughs] [39]

  • Judy: Listen to me very carefully, sir. I don't want you to give me the Dumb Routine. Do you know what I'm talking about? If you're dumb, I'll know you're dumb. If you give me the dumb routine, I know it's a dumb routine.
    Defendant: Yes, ma'am.
    Judy: I know the difference, Mr. Carey. Do you understand that?
    Defendant: [grinning] Yes, ma'am.
    Judy: Okay, very good. Now we understand each other, sir. Believe me, by the time this is over you're not gonna be smiling. [40]

  • Judy: [to Byrd] Put him outside.
    Byrd: Put who outside?
    Judy: [points to defendant] Him.
    Byrd: Him?
    Judy: Him.
    Defendant: [muttering under his breath as he is escorted out of court] Oh, man. The story of my life.
    Judy: [to plaintiff] Mr. Britton's fifteen minutes of fame is over. [41]

  • Plaintiff: By the way, Your Honor, you look beautiful.
    Judy: Don't go there, Mr. Missry, because it'll be the fastest way for you out the door, sir.
    Plaintiff: I'm sorry.
    Judy: The fastest way for you out the door. [42]

  • Judy: [yelling at defendant, who is being sued for bleaching plaintiff's clothes and has just cursed at plaintiff in court] LISTEN TO ME!!! Where do you think you are? You think you're on Springer? [audience laughs] You're NOT! You're NOT! You wanna go to a therapist, go someplace else---
    Defendant: No, I don't need a therapist.
    Judy: Listen to me!
    Defendant: I don't need to see a therapist... [continues trying to talk over Judy]
    Judy: Only one person is going to have--only one... judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of $5000! Your counterclaim is dismissed!
    Defendant: Excuse me? No! What about my computer? But what about my computer? But what about my computer?
    Judy: [getting up to walk off the set] That's all. Your counterclaim is dismissed.
    Defendant: ...and you just gonna walk away like that? That don't even make no sense! What about my computer, I don't get no chance to say nothin'...
    Judy: [over defendant's continued protests] I told you - I told you: it's my playpen, I have the word. Goodbye, go someplace else! [43]

  • Judy: [indicating defendant's sister, who has worn a mini-dress to court with a matching jacket] Where's the rest of her outfit? [audience laughs]
    Defendant: That was the most... professional clothing she could find, I guess.
    Judy: [to sister] You don't have a pair of long pants?
    Defendant's Witness: I do, but I... I just feel this is appropriate, since it's sold in stores.
    Defendant: Sold in, like, business apparel stores.
    Defendant's Witness: Yes, business apparel.
    [Judy and Byrd share an incredulous glance]
    Byrd: Different kind of business, I guess.
    Judy: [to sister] Do you go to church?
    Defendant's Witness: I'm a Christian.
    Judy: Did you ever go to church?
    Defendant's Witness: [giggling] Yes...
    Judy: [audience laughs and she raps on her table for them to be quiet] Did you ever go to church?
    Defendant's Witness: Yes, I did.
    Judy: Would you wear that outfit to church?
    Defendant's Witness: No, I wouldn't.
    Judy: No. You know, I just wanted to know where your head was at...When did the plaintiff put a fuel pump in your car?
    Defendant: Um, I would say May.
    Judy: May of 2010?
    Defendant: Yep. Around my birthday.
    Judy: "Yep" is not an answer.
    Defendant: Yes.
    Judy: [points to defendant's sister] "Yes" is an answer. "Yep" goes with that outfit. [audience laughs again] [44]

  • Defendant: ...I have a lot to be proud of.
    Judy: Like what?
    Defendant: I graduated high school.
    Judy: Oh, well! That's, like, the Eighth Wonder of the World; isn't it!
    Defendant: Yes; by our family's standards, that's a great accomplishment.
    Judy: Yeah, right; so is tying your own shoelaces, I'll bet.
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