Judge Shira Scheindlin Not Related To Judge Judy, But Often Confused

Judge Shira Scheindlin recently overturned New York City's controversial stop-and-frisk program as unconstitutional, but her familiar-sounding name sent internet searchers into a quest to see if Shira was related to the other famous Sheindlin, television's Judge Judy.

The answer: Judge Shira Scheindlin is not related to Judge Judy Sheindlin, who as you will note has a different spelling of her last name.

Scheindlin's name became a popular internet search this week in the wake of her ruling against the controversial police procedure in New York, which inordinately targeted minorities. Questions of whether she was related to Judge Judy were high among the searches.

There has been confusion of the two famous judges in the past as well. In 2006, mobster John "Junior" Gotti serenaded Judge Shira Scheindlin for her 60th birthday, warranting a note in the New York Post.

The blog Behind The Law picked up the story, acknowledging the confusion between Shira and Judy:

"It's surprising to hear that Judge Scheindlin took things so well. Although she's not related to 'Judge Judy' (a.k.a. Judge Judith Sheindlin — different spelling), one couldn't be blamed for thinking so. The Honorable Shira has a reputation has a holy terror. She works her clerks like dogs, berates them frequently, and sometimes even makes them cry. Don't pee on her robe and tell her it's raining!"

But while Judge Judy may hear cases of jilted exes and other petty cases, Judge Shira Scheindlin has a more historic standing with her ruling this week. In a 195-page opinion, Scheindlin set a standard against racial profiling, saying that New York City must do more to protect its citizens.

"Plaintiffs established the City's liability for the NYPD's violation of their Fourth Amendment rights under two theories," said Scheindlin. "First, plaintiffs showed that senior officials in the City and at the NYPD were deliberately indifferent to officers conducting unconstitutional stops and frisks; and second, plaintiffs showed that practices resulting in unconstitutional stops and frisks were sufficiently widespread that they had the force of law."

The ruling ensured that city residents will have their Fourth Amendment rights protected, noted Judge Shira Scheindlin. In all, a lot more important decision than Judge Judy Sheindlin deciding which roommate gets to keep the deposit money.