Meet the Judge
Judge Mathis is a national figure known for his advocacy campaigns for urban youth, and equal justice. His inspirational life story of a street youth who rose from jail to Judge has provided hope to millions who watch him on the Emmy® nominated, award-winning television court show Judge Mathis each day.
Judge Mathis’s public service career began in college where he led Free South Africa and voter registration campaigns on campus, while also working nights at McDonalds as a swing manager. After graduating from college in 1983, he joined the staff of Detroit City councilman Clyde Cleveland and continued to work as an advocate for equal justice with Reverend Jesse Jackson’s PUSH Excel, where he currently serves as Chairman. Judge Mathis has also served as a national board member of the NAACP and the Morehouse School of Medicine.
In his efforts to reach out to youth and ex-offenders both in and outside of the courtroom, Judge Mathis opened the Mathis community center in his hometown of Detroit and has assisted thousands of youth with his non-profit agency Young Adults Asserting Themselves (Y.A.A.T.), an agency that provides career, business start-up and job opportunities, as well as job training and college enrollment assistance.
In 2009, in honor of his years of work and commitment to his hometown of Detroit, the city named one of the streets, Mathis Avenue, after him. The street is part of a new housing development, which replaced the housing projects he grew up in.
Judge Mathis has received numerous awards and keys to the city from government officials and is the recipient of Honorary Doctorates from both Florida A&M University and Eastern Michigan University. He has been recognized for his efforts by numerous newspapers, magazines and television networks. He has appeared on such shows as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, Larry King Live, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Judge Mathis is married, and the proud father of four children, and recently became a grandfather.