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Petri Hawkins Byrd reflects on his 25 years as the 'Judge Judy' bailiff

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When Petri Hawkins Byrd sent a letter to his old boss Judge Judith Sheindlin in 1995 congratulating her for scoring a TV show, he didn’t expect a reply back. But 25 years later, the show will end this season, and he reflects on his time as the only bailiff on “Judge Judy.” (Dec. 1)

Video Transcript

- This is "Judge Judy."

PETRI HAWKINS BYRD: Judge, this is Case Number 7 on the calendar in the matter of Richter versus Reyes. Parties have been sworn in. When we started, there was, like, our court show, maybe one other court show, and a plethora of talk shows. And those talk shows kind of exploited people's foibles.

I think America in particular was looking for answers, or they were looking for somebody to be able to stand up and say, hey, you know, let's call a spade a spade, this is what's right, this is what's wrong, this is how I see it, and be able to stick by it.

And I think that that is what has kept our show in the forefront. We haven't changed the set. The only thing that's changed in almost 25 years is Judy's hairstyle. I'm sorry. Did I say Judy? I meant the judge's hairstyle. And that's about it.

JUDITH SHEINDLIN: Officer Byrd, would you, before you get to 6 Across, would you take this and send it over to the defendant?

- It's also the uniform.

JUDITH SHEINDLIN: Just a second, send the uniform.

PETRI HAWKINS BYRD: Outside of the courtroom, outside of the "Judge Judy" show, I've gotten a chance to fulfill a lot of dreams that I probably wouldn't have gotten the chance to do if it hadn't been for Judge Judy Sheindlin taking very seriously a funny comment at the end of a letter.

But it just goes to show you that if you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans. And then he'll go, you have no idea what you're about to embark on. But I trust I trust God. And I trust the ride. And the process has been wonderful.

JUDITH SHEINDLIN: Thank you. I thought that was funny.

PETRI HAWKINS BYRD: It was hilarious. It was 6 down.