Judge Penny Brown Reynolds has brought a unique touch to daytime court shows. She doesn't just rule on cases involving families — she also finds what's at the root of the problem and starts healing the troubled relationships. Referencing her own difficult childhood she tells litigants that anything is possible. She grew up one of four children raised by a single mother. She was homeless at one point and had to sleep in her car. She managed to beat the odds by excelling in school. These hardships help her to relate to others, while her successes allow her to set an example on how you can't let your situation be an excuse for not trying.
Judge Penny has a strong yet compassionate approach to cases. She has a way of putting someone in their place without stripping them of their dignity. It is quite something to watch. Her style doesn't leave room for the litigants to take the defensive, so they are left actually listening and learning. In one case a daughter complains her mother wears rather revealing clothing. Judge Penny tells the mom she is so beautiful from the inside there isn't a need to reveal so much of the outside. See what I mean? You really can't argue with that now, can you? Don't get me wrong — for those litigants who seem to have trouble listening, the judge will raise her voice to get their attention. However, she is firm and direct without being demeaning.
Judge Penny is also a minister, having been ordained before taking the television bench, which may explain her tough but gentle nature. She has a level of compassion so far unseen in television courtrooms. In one very touching episode a suicidal mother brings her rebellious daughter to court. Judge Penny's questions reveal the pain and anger that cause the teen to act out. The judge shared with the girl that her own childhood was hard and yet she still was able to live her dream. As the case was coming to a close, the judge asked the girl to come up to the bench to speak with her. The teenager promised to try harder, Judge Penny asked how she can be sure she means it. The girl offered her pinky in a promise which brought the judge to tears. At the end of the case the judge said she can only advise from her own experience and that she knows there is so much promise in the teenagers future. She tells the girl she is being held to their pinky promise and sentences mother and daughter to therapy to help heal their relationship.