PRESIDING JUDGE: The Honorable Judge Lynn Toler
Believe it or not, DIVORCE COURT is the oldest of the "real-life" courtroom television programs. It first aired back in 1957!
The show has run (on and off) for 34 seasons, which is longer than any other program of its kind. It has been canceled twice and revived twice. Wikipedia claims that DIVORCE COURT has featured the most number of judges, but we find that THE PEOPLE'S COURT show has featured the same number: 4.
DIVORCE COURT Judges:
- (1957-1969) - Voltaire Perkins
- (1985-1992) - William B. Keene
- (1999-2006) - Mablean Ephriam
- (2006-2014) - Lynn Toler
DIVORCE COURT only handles cases involving married couples who are currently pursuing a divorce (or who plan to divorce in the near future). Although the current version of DIVORCE COURT features real-life couples and their real cases, both earlier incarnations of the show used cases based on real stories that were acted out by fictional couples. Actors and actresses portrayed the plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses; meanwhile student attorneys (replaced by actors in later episodes) would represent each side and agrue their case. The presiding judges, meanwhile, were real judges... real retired judges.
The show's second judge, William B. Keene, was also the [original] presiding judge in the trial of convicted murderer Charles Manson. At first, he decided to allow Manson to act as his own attorney -- a decision which turned the courtroom into a virtual circus. When Keene rescinded his decision, Manson accused Keene of prejudice, and Keene was then replaced by Judge Charles Older. (Obviously this information has little to nothing to do with the DIVORCE COURT show, but we thought it was interesting!)
DIVORCE COURT often features very sensational, extraordinary cases. The show has handled cases involving sexual deviancy, chemical abuse, racism, gambling addiction and... Charles Nelson Reilly? It's true! He appeared on an episode in 1989.
In 2006, Judge Mablean Ephriam was dismissed from the show and replaced by Judge Lynn Toler. The reason for Ephriam's dismissal remains unclear. Some sources state that the producers were displeased with the hairstyles that Ephriam chose to wear or that she refused to comply with hairstyles selected for her. Other sources state that Ephriam was demanding an unreasonably high salary. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between...
Judge Lynn Toler first took over the bench of DIVORCE COURT for the episode which aired on September 11, 2006. (Toler was also featured on another courtroom show: the short-lived Power of Attorney. The show also featured the most famed defense attorney for O.J. Simpson's double-murder trial: none other than, Johnnie "If-The-Glove-Don't-Fit-You-Must-Acquit" Cochran!)
The current baliff of Divorce Court is Sergeant Joseph Catalano, formerly of the Sheriff's Department of San Bernardino County in California. He seems nice enough... He has a pretty cool moustache... a little like the guy from American Chopper... [compare] Nothing else is really known about him.
DIVORCE COURT is produced in Los Angeles by Monet Lane Prods., Inc. in association with Twentieth Television, Inc. All rights to DIVORCE COURT, its name and trademarks belong to...um... Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (? we think).