Life Extension Magazine June 2007
Judge Alex E. Ferrer
By Philip Smith
Some people are born with a moral compass that provides them with an innate sense of right and wrong throughout their lives. One person who has put this natural talent to good use is Judge Alex Ferrer. In his current role as star of the popular televised courtroom program, “Judge Alex,” he dispenses the law and delivers civic lessons to those who have strayed from the straight and narrow. He is by equal turns tough and compassionate, and when appropriate, exhibits a warm sense of humor. Behind his welcoming demeanor, however, is a man who clearly means business.
Early Ambition and Respect for the Law
Ferrer was just under a year old when he had his first exposure to the social devastation that occurs when laws are broken. Fidel Castro had just come to power in Cuba and the world the Ferrers had known was suddenly in pieces. The family, with little Alex in tow, fled Cuba and came to the United States seeking freedom and a law-abiding society.
Precocious, Ferrer graduated from the Miami-Dade Police Academy at the unheard-of age of 19. He immediately shined, winning a trophy for most outstanding recruit and excelling at academics as well as firearms and other physical challenges. Ferrer advanced through the ranks, from police officer to detective, and eventually trained for the department’s SWAT team. While on the beat, he attended and received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Miami School of Law and became a published member of the Law Review.
As an attorney, Ferrer practiced civil litigation. At just 34 years of age, he became Judge Ferrer on the Circuit Court in the Family and Criminal division. There he presided over cases involving everything from first-degree murder and armed robbery to RICO conspiracy and adoptions. In short, he saw it all. “I’m a very law-and-order-minded person and was a very law-and-order-minded judge,” he says. “I give very fair trials. However, if something’s right, it’s right; if it’s not, then it’s wrong.”
A Ratings Hit That Serves the Public
During the 10 years he served as a judge in Miami, Judge Alex received offers from various television networks about doing a courtroom show. He turned them all down, as he was genuinely enjoying being a judge. A branch of Fox Television had a new courtroom show in development, and their scouts were on the lookout for a charismatic judge who could bring something new to the daytime lineup. After they asked around, several people recommended Judge Alex as the perfect choice. This time, he said yes.
The result has been a huge hit. Ratings are off the charts and audiences love the show. Perhaps it is a combination of Judge Alex’s real-life experience as an on-the-beat cop, attorney, and judge—and his patience, willingness to listen to all sides, and innate sense of fairness—that draws people to watch him day after day. “I thought I had seen it all before I took on the show,” Ferrer says. “Remember, I was a cop on the street and a lawyer and judge in Miami, which has the fourth largest court system in the country. But I have to tell you, once I took on the show, the cases surprised me every day.”
Every case that appears on the show is in fact a real case going to trial. “I know people watch the show and wonder if these people are for real,” says the judge. “The cases are pulled from all over the country. We fly people in from Nebraska, from Illinois, from all over the country to be on the show.” Because of the geographic diversity of the cases he hears, Judge Alex has to research individual state law as it applies to each particular case. “In one case, I’ll be handling a contract dispute involving Texas law,” he says, “and in the next case, I’m handling a landlord-tenant case involving New York law.”
Judge Alex’s decisions are not predetermined. “Before I hear the case, I review the complaint and answer so that I know what the issues are,” he explains. “But I don’t make a decision until I’ve heard both sides testify, because that can really make a difference.”
The nationally syndicated show is popular across the country, and Judge Alex cites several reasons for its success. “People watch the show for a number of reasons,” says the judge. “First, they like to see justice served to those who have done wrong. Second, they like to play along and see if they can guess the verdict. Finally, people like to learn about the law; it is something that they can use in their daily lives. Believe it or not, the show also performs an important service to our judicial system. If we didn’t pull these cases and put them on TV, then they would be going to trial and taking up time in someone else’s courtroom. As a result, we contribute to reducing the caseload around the country.”
Healthy Regimen Helps to Offset Stress
Every other week, Judge Alex flies from his Miami home to Houston for a week of taping. The stress of travel, combined with long hours of work on the set, can take their toll. Although he is a natural athlete, Judge Alex makes an extra effort to stay in shape and maintain his good health. The judge runs marathons, trains with weights four to five days a week, practices kick boxing, piloting, scuba diving, and golf, and is even investigating yoga to increase his flexibility.
Along with exercise and a healthy diet, Judge Alex carefully chooses his supplements for maximum health benefits. “My supplement program can change, depending on what kind of training I’m involved in or my travel schedule,” he explains. “For example, I know that weight lifting and running can create free radicals, so I take vitamins C and E to counteract that effect. Right now, I’m taking a multivitamin, boron, glucosamine, chondroitin, selenium, fish oils, and flax. I need to keep my joints in good shape, not to mention keep my mind sharp. Staying healthy and in shape is not a chore to me. I enjoy it because it is so deeply ingrained. I started working out at such a young age that it just comes as second nature.”
The judge says that Life Extension has given him confidence in the health benefits to be derived from regularly taking supplements. “One of the biggest problems I see with supplements is that people don’t know who is a trusted, reliable source,” he says. “That’s why a magazine like Life Extension is great, because it’s something people can consult like Consumer Reports. I know I’m going to get a fair and honest opinion. You don’t get that in very many places. An analysis in your magazine about why certain supplements may benefit you is something I would trust more than just reading some ad. My concern is that a lot of people make claims that are not backed up by science. And a lot of people get tricked into buying supplements that are worthless and then they lose faith in the supplements that are beneficial. Life Extension is a magazine that people can really turn to for solid information.”
To learn more about Judge Alex Ferrer and his television program, please visit www.judgealex.com.