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I must say that I do not care much for Judge Mathis. Not just because justice was NOT served, but also because we were the last taping of the day and he was grumpy as hell. I think he was just trying to hurry up and be done taping for the day. The producers encouraged me to interrupt often, and that is what I did. Dorothy Hyland episode #10049.
It was great doing the show because I was tired of his lies. I didn't think it was fair that I helped him out and he wouldn't pay me back. I gave him many second chances and I initially filed a small claim in my city, thinking it would scare him into making him pay up. Then the show contacted me and asked if I wanted to be on it. The deal was great - if I won, I got my money quickly. The producers and staff were very organized. I was a bit nervous, but made sure I practiced well. I was ready with evidence and confident I would win. From the moment he started giving his side, it was 99% lies. It was great to prove to the judge I was the honest one. They edited out quite a bit so the TV audience didn't get to see all the other drama, but the live audience were able to witness the entire story and were really into it. I have always loved public speaking and this was a fun opportunity for me. The only thing I regret is I should have asked for more money. I was being very nice and didn't ask for the interest he promised to pay. I do have to say, when I watched my episode, I felt bad when I saw the look of defeat on his face knowing he was embarrassed. Funny how I the "gold digger" was with his broke self for so long. I was so angry in that relationship and it was interesting to find out after I left him I was suddenly better. When he lied about my MBA, it took a lot to calm my nerves. (They edited a lot from that part) The producers do like a good story and encourage you to practice, but I don't think they want you to lie. I enjoyed working with the entire staff. Even before the show, I promised myself I would not hit below the belt no matter what. You get your appearance money the same day ad your claim check comes in the mail couple weeks after. Lisa Nguyen episode #8112
I was Jaclyn Swanson's witness. The only thing that happened which I didn't expect was each person is assigned a case manager who works with you the whole time to develop your story. That person shapes what you say to add some drama to make the show interesting. Jacki's case manager had her "script" mentioning how Natalie tried to steal Jacki's boyfriends which was completely irrelevant to the case. They only obtained the information because they kept asking Jacki unusual questions about her friendship with Natalie. I thought it was pretty funny and weird how they do that just to add some humor and drama to the show. Michaline Ponda episode #8020
They ask you to dress nicely and that you do not wear any clothes with outward facing logos which is general practice on TV shows. Besides that there was a lot of coaching from the producers beforehand asking you to really emphasize the "racy" parts to make for better TV. They never asked me to falsify any information, they were just trying to make it worth watching. Over all it was a decent experience and the producers were nice people and the only people I ever had interaction with. I never got to meet Judge Mathis which was a little disappointing. I didn't spend a dime on the whole trip so it was a nice little vacation to Chicago for me. Greg Goodwin episode #7124
I was a defendant so my story was a little different, but close. I got picked up in a Lincoln, not a limo, and only was paid $150. I was just going to say that I owed the money and intended to pay him back, but they said they wouldn't take my case if I did that. I was broke and needed the money, so I figured something else out. Before the show, the producer told me to say the plaintiff was gay, but I didn't want to be so mean because his own mother didn't know. Then the first thing he says in court is that I'm a slut and I had sex with my church friends which was quite an exaggeration so I ended up saying he was gay. When I talk to him now, he told me all kinds of stuff the producer had him say. Someone ought to do something about that, it doesn't seem right. Trisha Jackson episode #7084
You are driven by limo to a hotel and picked up early - 6:30 AM. You are escorted to the Plaintiff's green room where all the plaintiffs for the day are. There is food and then they take you to makeup where you are kept separate from the defendant at all times. A producer goes over a script with you altering your story for interest. They hear your story and then "beef" it up. It isn't a completely made up script, they just guide you and add entertainment value to it. The script had things in it like we were "lovers" when it wasn't true. They asked me to start out by NOT providing the promissory note, because Mathis would immediately give me the judgment. They wanted me to wait so there was some drama (hence the reason I waited to present it in my case). Also what I said in the beginning, "I know what this looks like..." was their idea. I wanted to just say, "I made a loan, she signed an agreement and she didn't pay." But that is not good TV. You both get $200 for showing up and they send you a check for the judgment which is the allure for being on the show. Afterwards they take you from the show to the airport and that is it. I had to sit for hours and hours waiting. They film you coming in to the podium with no sound and later they add the music and narration. Lights shine on you and everyone laughs at the judge. Mathis did not come out and introduce himself. I was whisked in and whisked out after my showing. I then stood next to Doyle and he is an actor, not a bailiff and a weird guy in general. In my closing I said I learned never to loan a friend money - not even ONE CENT because Mathis always says cent instead of cents. Jason Kassel episode #7082
I was on this show 9/19/05 and it was the biggest humiliation of my life. I think that Judge Mathis allowed that loser to countersue for her "love letters" because he used to be just like her. I was so mad when I left there I was balling. This chick totally screwed me over for being nice to her, helping her out in her time of need and then was rewarded for it. That just makes absolutely no sense to me at all. So I got stuck coughing up a few hundred dollars to pay a phone bill that she ran up. I am an honest girl making a good life for my family and owned my first house at 21 years old and he makes me out to be some welfare momma, waiting for my check. If they actually checked the information for any truth at all they would have known I have never in my day been entitled to any kind of welfare whatsoever. I think the show is a crock and as long as you are a loser you will get his sympathy! Amber Golladay episode #7006
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