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6 Ways That On-Screen Court and Real-life Court Are Very Different

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There is no shortage of truly entertaining legal shows on TV. Filled with drama, danger, and mystery, shows like Judge Judy, People’s Court, Divorce Court, and Judge Joe Brown are popular daytime television programs.

But how accurate are they? Are they true to the happenings of legal cases in a real court room? Let’s find out! Here are 6 ways that on-screen court and real-life court differ.

  1. Confessions

When it comes to confessions, TV programs generally have the guilty admitting to their charge in open court. In real life, self-incriminating evidence is often not admissible in the courtroom.

Sometimes, this evidence is allowed after the proceeding of certain procedures. But even these procedures are not allowed to take place in the same court session.

  1. Instantaneous justice

In true TV fashion and for dramatic effect, judges usually deliver their verdict within a few minutes and alongside a grand speech. Real life justice, however, can be a long process.

Most of the time, both sides are heard and then the case enters a waiting period, where all parties involved await the judge’s verdict. This verdict may be given within a week, a month, or a year (or longer). The process is extensive and drawn out.

  1. Gavels

Every good TV court proceeding features at least one hit of the judge’s gavel. Whether it be to stop a heated argument or to officially end the session, you can rest assured that the gavel will drop.

In actuality, though, judges rarely ever use the gavel. Yes, they have it and yes they can use it- but more often than not, they don’t.

  1. Last minute evidence.

Many on-screen court cases include a healthy dose of last minute, fate-sealing evidence. You know the type- the document that the lawyer whips out of his pocket, the perfectly preserved fingerprint, etc etc.

Although this makes for a great show, it isn’t realistic. Most of the time evidence in real court proceedings is document beforehand and there are very few evident surprises, making this popular depiction nothing more than added drama for entertainment purposes.

  1. Napping

An episode of Judge Judy would be nothing more than a joke if one of the many people attending took an impromptu nap while the jury deliberated. Despite this, napping does happen in the real world.

This is mostly because of the length of any given court session; some sessions last upwards of 7 straight hours! They are also generally quite dry and filled with a lot more sleep-inducing silence than they are intense arguments.

  1. Attendance

In every episode of Law & Order, the courtroom is packed. In real court, however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Most of the time, court rooms are relatively empty save for those who need to be there to testify, the judge, and the support people of both parties. Sometimes, there will be a handful of people, but generally the attendance rates are low.


The benefits of watching legal stories

If you are looking to stock up on shows that will give you the opportunity to enjoy a nice mix of fact and fiction, legal stories are the way to go. With shows like Law and Order having some of the longest runs of any similar show in television history, there are plenty to choose between and plenty of reasons that people enjoy legal stories. To make sure that you are able to make the most out of these legal stories, read on in order to learn all about these benefits.

#1: You get to learn about court procedure

One of the biggest benefits of these television shows is that they are great at providing an insight into real life. Court procedure is something that affects everybody in some form or another and will give you an opportunity to understand the highly exciting world of the judicial system. There are a lot of television shows that focus on court procedure, so make sure that you do your due diligence in this regard.

#2: This is one of the best ways to build drama in a series

When it comes to legal stories, there are a lots of opportunities out there to enjoy the shows. They are so enjoyable first and foremost because it is one of the natural and most incredible ways to build drama. By knowing that a crime has taken place, a person has been arrested and arraigned on charges, there are plenty of opportunities for twists and turns and you will not know the outcome until the very end. This leaves plenty of room to build drama whenever you are deciding to tune in for an hour-long episode

#3: Legal stories provide an unparalleled high stakes thrill ride

You also need to understand that these shows are excellent because the stakes are some of the highest that you will see in any show. You know the stakes going into it and this lets you identify with the characters in order to immediately begin compiling your own evidence and figure out whether you think the person committed the crime or not. These are stories that have insanely high-stakes built-in and it will allow you to to watch intently, in order to enjoy everything that comes with the the ride.

photo of the word legal

So if you are looking to figure out which legal stories will be entertaining to you, do a quick web search to see which court room shows are currently on the air. Doing this will provide you the opportunity to enjoy television and Will make sure that you are deciding on which shows are as entertaining to US you would like. Research the shows to the best of your ability and make sure that you look up their ratings by searching the web. These shows have incredible fan bases and you will be able to get a taste of the show in order to figure out if it is what you are looking for.


Check out my About page if you’d like to get to know more about me. 🙂

Blog Law Stories

It seems nothing is Exempt from Court Action – Even Landscaping!

You know, it seems that nothing is exempt from court action these days. I thought I had seen it all in court rooms, but I never considered that I might read about a case involving landscaping. Perhaps the following case has a lesson for us all, in relation to having friends doing tasks for us that maybe should be done by professionals.


This case happened in London, England, where a couple received a quote from a reputable landscaping firm, for works to be carried out on their gardens. The price they received was not agreeable to them, so they instead asked their friend, whom they thought had a landscaping background, to do the work, at a much reduced cost.

Now, rather than following through and getting a residential landscaping henderson firm as one might in the LV area, they instead got their friend in to start the work. This is when the problems began.

No Contract:

No contract or formal agreement had been drawn up in relation to the works. The friend organised other friends of his to come in and help in getting the work done. But ultimately, they ended up pretty much destroying the couple’s garden. The judge presiding over the case ruled that the friend, who was an architect, had a duty of care, while he counter argued that he was merely a friend, who happened to have a professional background.

men in suits


In the end, the couple still ended up having to hire the very same professional firm they got the original quote from, in order to right the damage done to their garden, at much greater cost than the original quote. The judge recommended that mediation take place between the parties, so a suitable outcome could be arrived at.


Starting off your career as a lawyer

I’d just like to give prospective legal wannabes an idea of what a lawyer is and where they go to work. If you’re hoping to enter this wonderful world of legalities, I have put together some basic “need-to-knows” below:

  • What is a lawyer?
  • Where do they work?
  • Salary and more career information

What is a lawyer?

Hollywood has given us a warped view of what lawyers do and how they behave. There is a lot of exaggeration in many portrayals of lawyers as slick, wealthy professionals. In most cases, the more well-known firms’ lawyers do in fact make very good money. But most lawyers put in an awful lot of time and energy to earn the big dollars.

The District Attorneys (DA), like we see on Television, do prosecute defendants accused of committing heinous crimes. But on the other hand, some lawyers never see the walls of a courtroom or indeed speak a single word before a judge. These lawyers sit behind desks with tonnes of paperwork, doing research or drafting up contracts.

At the most basic level, lawyers advise and represent businesses, individuals and/or government agencies in criminal and/or civil legal affairs.

lawyer career

Where do lawyers work?

Lawyers can work for big firms or small practices in a private manner, or they can work for the government as public servants.

Lawyers may find jobs as district attorneys or as defenders to a member of the public. They could also work for the federal government.

Private sector work attracts many lawyers to the big firms, where they will usually specialise in a specific area such as tax, divorce, environmental law or data protection. I’m not sure which is the most attractive to me, what do you think?

Salary and more information

  • In America, the average lawyer’s salary is approximately $115,000 per annum.
  • Lawyers can expect to work long hours in the office beyond the typical “9 to 5”.

The Freedom of Speech; Cyberbullying!

The dawn of the digital age, brings a voice to anyone with an internet connection. People can voice their views upon the ears and eyes of the world. I think, with this dawn and the levelling of the playing field brings many positives along with some negatives. Take cyber bullying for example and freedom of expression.

 cyberbullying image

Dealing with students freedom of speech

For example, although Texan laws ban cyberbullying, students’ First Amendment rights actually limit how schools react in terms of disciplining students for speech that may be posted on the internet and away from campus.

The free-speech protections for students were faced with a major challenge in the 1960s. The principal of a school in Des Moines, Iowa, took the decision to suspend a students for wearing black armbands in protest to the war in Vietnam. Although the school district had claimed that this was a disruptive act, the US Supreme Court actually sided with the students: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District.

It was ruled by the court that in justifying the censorship of student speech, the school administration would need to prove that the speech would somehow “substantially and materially” interfere with the school’s operations.

Ever since, federal courts have reverted to this standard when attempting to deal with student speech which happens off campus, even while trying to deal with what one could consider as cyberbullying.

So I ask, what does this mean now in this digital age?

Notable case 1

J.C. v. Beverly Hills Unified School District (2009). J.C. was 13 years old and a student in California. The student went with some friends to a restaurant off-campus. J.C. video recorded them using profanities to ridicule some other student there, C.C. Using the computer at home, J.C. uploaded this to the internet as a Youtube video and let other students know, including C.C., who naturally became very upset about it and subsequently reported it to their school.

School administrators decided to suspended J.C. although there wasn’t any evidence that any student saw the video on school property. The school district took the argument that they had to deal with an upset parent and that student along with five other students missing classes due to the investigation.

Who won the case? STUDENT. The district court took sides with J.C., ruling that the aforementioned things didn’t justify enough, any meaningful disruption at the school.

Notable case 2

Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools (2011). Kara Kowalski was a senior at a high school in South Carolina. She used her own computer to set up her MySpace page, S.A.S.H.. This acronym stood for Students Against Shay’s Herpes. Kara then invited other students to join this group, which made fun of a fellow student. One student did join this group while on a school computer. Shay’s parents and Shay decided to complain to the school officials. After which, she decided to leave school due to feeling uncomfortable. Officials did punish Kara due to establishing the “hate website.” Although Kara later attempted to sue.

Who won? SCHOOL.


I think there is a fine line between where cyberbullying starts and finishes. It’s difficult to quantify and the fact that social media is so prevalent now it makes it very difficult to police, especially from a school’s perspective. I think new legal frameworks should be worked on to deal with the potential of future cyber bullying cases.