I first heard of Judge Jeanine Pirro from her TV court show of the same name. There is always something that distinguishes one judge show from another; with Judge Pirro, besides having a great sense of humor and contagious laugh, she was a true pioneer in the legal arena.
First she was an Assistant District Attorney in Westchester County N.Y. and later became the first female county court judge. After she left the bench, she was elected the first female District Attorney. Judge Jeanine helped to improve the laws for victims of rape, murder & domestic violence. During her time as D.A. she developed the very first task force to deal with the issue of domestic violence in the country. She was strong force against crime with a 100 percent conviction rate. She continues to be the fiercest fighter for the underdog. Judge Jeanine can be scary tough and beautifully compassionate. A truly awesome combination!
Her court show won an Emmy this year but you won’t see her on the TV bench anymore, she has moved to a desk at FOX News Channel. Justice with Judge Jeanine is an hour-long program discussing the legal system as it relates to crime and current court cases.
Hearing about Judge Jeanine’s accomplishments peaked my curiosity so I read her book, To Punish and Protect: Against a System That Coddles Criminals.
I was impressed by this woman who gave a voice to those without one. I admire strong women who get things done; it wasn’t something I saw growing up. I had a mom who couldn’t or wouldn’t even protect me from the horrors going on in our own home. So someone like Judge Pirro was unheard of in my world.
So imagine my surprise when I found Judge Jeanine on Twitter. Yes, it’s really her, and not some imposter. She had just signed up,so I was one of her first fifty followers; she answered her tweets as often as she could. I asked some of her other followers to share why Judge Jeanine is so special to them:
Knowing Judge Jeanine when I was younger would have been the greatest to have realized there was a voice for those of us who felt transparent in the world! -Jill T.
I admire her courage to be an advocate for victims of domestic violence and her compassion for the law. -Kimberly Fitzgerald
Judge Pirro is my role model to start with.. she has given me endless advice and helped me through a tough situation. -Katie W
She is so heartfelt, caring and compassionate which is what makes her a terrific advocate for victims of abuse. – Amy
I’m struggling to find the right words to explain why I’m such a fan of Judge Jeanine. At first it was because she’s an animal lover like me. But then, not long ago it changed. I’m afraid if I’m not careful I will offend someone. Sharing my truth is a bit awkward but I hope through any discomfort readers will relate or at least understand my feelings. I’m white and when I was growing up white women in my life were either passive, mean or distant. That was my experience. But black women were the strong and compassionate ones. As a fan of some strong black celebrities I sometimes feel like an outsider. There seemed to be a connection between people of the same race that I just couldn’t understand. That was until I did some further reading online about Judge Jeanine, a woman of Lebanese decent. I didn’t know Lebanese were white. At that moment I understood why there is some connection between races. A white woman who stood up and fought for the abused, seriously? I was blown away! There is comfort in the knowledge that she was out there protecting girls like me. I was sexually abused throughout my childhood & my cries for help were ignored. I felt a connection to Judge Jeanine at that moment. But more importantly, there was a rebirth of a trust that had died in me a long time ago.
It’s been a few years now that we’ve been interacting with Judge Jeanine. I jokingly sign some of my tweets “red headed stepchild” because I’m pretty good at saying the wrong thing. But she’s been a good sport about it. Judge Jeanine calls those of us who have been with her a long time her “posse”. It’s an honor to be part of Pirro’s Posse! These days when we say we love her, it’s for real not the typical fan speak.
If you watched Judge Jeanine’s court show you know her personality. No one ever wants her to say “shame on you.” to them. That is a phrase that makes my head spin. I’d rather be told to “bleep off” But we all want to hear, “I’m proud of you.” You know the recipient did something really great and she’s impressed. I imagine it can’t be easy to impress her with all she’s accomplished.
Recently, I had the privilege of asking Judge Jeanine a few questions. She was so nice to squeeze me into her busy schedule. I was only a little nervous about talking to her. I wasn’t sure if she was going to call me out on any of the annoying things I have said on Twitter. There was a moment when she asked me what I was doing that my heart skipped a beat, but it turned out she was just talking about this article. She’s a great interview and very open with her answers:
Often when someone makes such a huge difference in society they were often motivated by some wrong done to them or something they witnessed. What was your motivating experience?
My mom was my motivator. She motivated me as a little girl to help others. I washed one neighbors hair, helped another in a wheelchair clean her house. We took a blind neighbor grocery shopping on Fridays. I knew as a kid I wanted to be a lawyer, I loved perry mason. My mom is still my backbone. I hear her whispering in my ear when someone is disadvantaged. It felt like the legal system was about the criminal and no one was really paying attention to the crime victim. But if you are asking if I was ever a victim; when I was a child bully punched me while at the bus stop. I went home crying and my mom went down the next day; she wanted the girl sent to juvenile hall–she wanted justice! But it wasn’t any particular event it was more of a lifestyle. It’s how I was raised.
Any cases from your DA days that still stick with you?
Many of them…One case involved a girl who was raped by her father. He was a pillar of the community, I prosecuted him. He later murdered his second wife. The daughter ended up ADA in my office after graduation from law school. But most don’t have happy endings. It’s sad the criminal gets help, like education but nothing for the victims. So many cases…abused kids, molestation.
Do you realize the impact you have on others especially women?
Young students who interned with me, who became lawyers-say I helped them. There was someone I ran into that said, You don’t remember me, you put me in jail. I didn’t know whether to duck or run. She said thank you. She had been drug addicted, she was off drugs and got her kids back from foster care. If you make the system work for them you can make a difference. It’s not an assembly line. If you can help them, shame on you if you don’t. Even on my court show, I’d put money in trust for kids if I didn’t trust the parent. That way the child had something later for what they need, like school.
Do you feel pressure to present a certain image because of all your accomplishments or do you feel free to be yourself?
No pressure, I mean I have a pet pig! I’m free to be myself. No makeup when I don’t have to, could care less. It’s your spirit that makes you beautiful. Told my daughter who is a law grad she’s beautiful, smart..taught her you can be the most beautiful in world as life goes on you have to perform and can’t rely on looks or you’re out of the game.
I understand you have a new book coming out this spring. Sly Fox what is it about?
It’s about a young female prosecutor battling the system at a time when women didn’t try cases; women weren’t seen as litigators. It’s a series of books that take reader up to when she becomes prosecutor. (It sounds like Judge Jeanine’s life but its a work of fiction).
Some of your Twitter posse participated in this article anything you want to say to them? (Said yes very enthusiastically)
I love them, I wish I could spend more time talking to them. Everyone so fascinating in their own way. My life is so crazy, more than anything thank you and a big hug. They give me a lot of strength and lot of support.
Readers, you must admit only a totally cool person would own a pet pig. Seriously though, Judge Jeanine makes the world a better place. So many, like myself, are very grateful to her. She’s beautiful but also has that spirit she referenced in one of her answers. I’m glad she has a platform to reach millions of viewers, maybe with her wide-spread influence others will learn to be more like her.
Be sure to tune into Justice with Judge Jeanine Saturdays on Fox News Channel at 9:00 p.m. ET.