Law in Popular Culture

Meet Judge Judy's Longtime Bailiff, Byrd, the 'Kato to her Green Hornet'

A bailiff on the hugely popular Judge Judy reality courtroom television show was actually, years ago, just like “Judge Judy” Scheindlin herself, the real thing.

Both she and Petri Hawkins Byrd worked in Manhattan Family Court in New York when she was a supervising judge, reports the Los Angeles Times in a lengthy article reprinted in the San Francisco Chronicle. Both are also from Brooklyn initially, another shared experience that helps them relate to each other.

Byrd, now 54, recalls doing an impression of Scheindlin one day in her actual court in New York, wearing her robe and her glasses, that had nearby attorneys and court reporters chucking. Then the laughter stopped and all eyes turned to Scheindlin, who had just come back in. Fortunately, she had a sense of humor, he recounts.

Their longtime history has helped Byrd and Scheindlin form a winning team in their televised courtroom. Their chemistry is akin to that of a long-married couple, the judge says, and, although they don’t socialize much off-camera, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Byrd doesn’t hesitate to inject his own personality in the proceedings at times, in addition to serving as a quelling presence for those who might be tempted to get out of line.

“I’m the Robin to her Batman, the Kato to her Green Hornet,” he told the newspaper.

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