Judge Wapner had served for 20 years on the California Municipal and Superior Courts before becoming the occasionally irascible, highly watchable star of “The People’s Court,” a daytime series on which real-life plaintiffs and defendants from California small claims courts would argue their cases before him._____
A decorated veteran of World War II, Judge Wapner ran his television courtroom from the show’s debut in 1981 to the end of its original run in 1993 with stern, mesmerizing discipline, cutting off onscreen complainants who displeased him and threatening to levy unspecified penalties on those who dared to interrupt him.
But Judge Wapner’s reasoned verdicts, in disputes over missing pets, encroaching fences or botched hairdos, were difficult to argue with. And his evenhanded hearings of cases in which mere pocket change was at stake let millions of viewers know that no matter how seemingly insignificant their legal disputes, they, too, were entitled to their day in court.
Monday, February 27, 2017
Obituary: Judge Joseph A. Wapner, 97, best remembered for his show The People's Court, has died. He died yesterday.