Hot Bench is back with all new episodes! Tanya Acker, Patricia DiMango and Michael Corriero take their Judge’s seats to preside over a whole slew of new cases including a mother-daughter dispute and a homeless man whose dog goes missing after receiving care.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Acker, DiMango and Corriero about these upcoming cases, what it takes to prepare for being in their courtroom and the significance of 1,000 episodes.
MW- Good morning! How are you all doing today?
PD- Good Matt, how are you?
MW- I’m doing really well! I want to say congratulations to the three of you on 1,000 episodes! What does that milestone mean to the three of you?
PD- Well it means we’re a thousand down and we have a few thousand more to go [laughs]!
MW- What’s been your most memorable case through these first 1,000 chapters of the show?
TA- Oh gosh, that’s so hard. One of the things that always resonates with me are those personal entanglements where the legal case in infused with that kind of drama that makes everything layered. I think that’s one of the reasons why people like our show because they can relate to the anger, they can relate to the sense of justice and seeking justice.
It’s hard to pick one case but family drama is a big theme…
PD- …and we have one coming up, several but at least one next week, involving a mother suing a daughter over a cell phone. It sounds like a very simple legal issue but it really is so enmeshed in family dysfunction that it’s difficult to untangle not only the family issues but the legal issues as well.
The mother, who is suing the daughter for the phone, actually gave her up to foster care services when the child was very young. The mother’s fear was that the child was going to kill her. The child did suffer abuse in the foster care system and this phone and living together now was their way of reconciling and trying to remedy their family issues.
As you’ll see in the case, more than the phone becomes damaged, the family is damaged and it’s up to us to fix the legal issues but also the personal ones as well; as is the case sometimes.
MC- The human drama behind all these issues manifests in what seems to be the cases that you wouldn’t imagine could be resolved other than bringing it to court. These issues are really reflective of a deeper dispute and that infuses everything that we hear and see.
MW- Another interesting part of the show is when things really have a true grey area and it’s up to the three of you to sort things out. Michael, I believe there is a story coming up next week where a homeless man’s dog became ill and was taken in for treatment and then the dog went missing. Can you walk us through what we can expect to see out that case?
MC- That’s an interesting one because it really highlights the relationship we have between us and our pets. Here we have a homeless man who really loved his dog who gave birth to nine puppies and then she became gravely ill. A good Samaritan agreed to try to help and during this process there became some concern about returning the dog to the homeless man as to whether or not the man would be able to care for the dog in the future.
While this was all unfolding and there was some tension between the man and the good Samaritan, the dog disappeared and the man was completely devastated. The homeless man sued the Samaritan for our jurisdictional maximum of $5,000. But we couldn’t make him hole and replace the dog and we had to see both sides of the story. Both sides had good intentions but we had to resolve how this all plays out.
MW- No matter how black or white or shades of grey like this case with the dog appears, I would think there are some trends you have all seen over the years that assist a person’s argument once they get to court. What are some of the bets ways to prepare for court in each of your opinions.
PD- Evidence! The more evidence you bring in to corroborate your verbal testimony the more likely you will be able to prevail in your position; or at least to cover the credibility hurdle. Whether or not you have the law on your side is one issue but at least if you appear credible to us that will only help your case.
TA- I think something to do before you come in is to be really tough on yourself before you get to court. You should be really critical of your position before you show up because people don’t realize sometimes that court is so hard, it’s long, it’s going to take a lot of time and potentially a lot of money. You can save yourself some of that by anticipating your weaknesses in advance.
MC- I think Tanya really touched on something important there. Everyone should ask themselves what is fair; that’s what we’re looking for. We’re always looking for the fairest way to resolve an issue.
PD- They’re entrenched in the relationship aspect of a case and that’s what gets in people’s way more often than not.
MW- Take notes everyone coming to see these three, do you homework! Thank you so much for talking to me today congratulations again on the first 1,000 episodes and good luck with the next 1,000!
PD- Thank you!
MC- Take care!
TA- Thanks Matt!
Hot Bench premieres new episodes this upcoming Thursday as well as next Monday and Tuesday. Check your local listings for more information.