Even though producer Randy Douthit has rubbed elbows with everyone from TV stars to former presidents, he remains committed to giving back. The Judge Judy and Judy Justice director and producer believes that fairness shouldn’t just happen in Judy Sheindlin’s courtroom.
Douthit is a proud supporter of the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit that works to end overcriminalization and mass incarceration. Douthit immediately connected with the organization’s mission after attending one of its events and hearing a powerful message from a formerly incarcerated person who had reshaped his life. That moment helped shape Douthit’s opinion on criminal justice reform.
“Our prisons are overcrowded,” he says. “We want to be able to protect the public, but at the same time, we need these people, especially the young people, who are contributing to society to continue contributing to society.” He also acknowledges that, like with many problems in our society, sometimes the root cause of incarceration goes deeper than what we see on the surface. Douthit recognizes that many incarcerated people “grew up in homes where they didn’t get a break.
“They didn’t have the opportunities that everybody else had,” he says.
Randy Douthit: From Glamour to Grit
Working as a television producer might seem glamorous — and it can be. Douthit has worked with the likes of talk show legend Larry King and produced interview specials with Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. In his career, Douthit has worked on several acclaimed television programs, including CableACE Award-winning Larry King Live and Daytime Emmy honoree Judge Judy. He’s also won two Peabody awards and was part of the team responsible for NBC’s smash hit The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That’s quite the impressive résumé, but while Douthit admits the work can seem exciting and glamorous — and it sometimes is — it can also be a challenge. “It’s hard work, is what it is,” he says of ensuring production runs smoothly.
That hard work ethic applies to his charitable side, too. Douthit has contributed to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which he says is “pretty important, for obvious reasons.” The LA Food Bank distributes roughly 4 million pounds of food a week to people in Los Angeles County experiencing food insecurity.
Douthit also supports Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm, whose clients include people enduring homelessness and other types of extreme poverty. In addition to the more vulnerable people in our society, Public Counsel assists small businesses, students, families, veterans, and more. In 2020 alone, the organization provided legal services to 19,000 people and 150 nonprofit organizations and saved their clients $4 million worth of legal services. Douthit thinks the work of Public Counsel is “absolutely great.”
Judy Justice in Real Courtrooms
Having spent over two-and-a-half decades working on a top-rated courtroom TV show, Douthit has learned a few things about the American legal system. When it comes to the courtroom, Douthit notices, “People tend to get emotional over their lawsuits and that can get them in trouble. It’s better just to be straightforward and do the best that you can if you want to win.” Although Randy Douthit is more familiar with the small-claims cases featured on Judge Judy and Judy Justice, the advice can apply to larger cases as well.
Randy Douthit Says the Mission of Health Hits Home
Keeping healthy, and supporting organizations that help others do so too, is important to Douthit. He became a strong supporter of research at the University of California, Irvine after he underwent a surgery that could have benefited from artificial skin cells, a technology that wasn’t available to him. Realizing the benefits that research into the area could have, Douthit began to financially support that research. UC Irvine has pioneered new therapies and techniques that have been put into practice by the rest of the nation.
Randy Douthit has nothing but positive things to say about the many organizations he supports. His only regret is that he’s too busy at the moment to roll up his sleeves and do the kind of on-the-ground work he’d sometimes like to do. He’s planning to film another 120 episodes of Judy Justice — for the first round of episodes, he had to complete 120 in just three months. Douthit does, however, have plans to get in the metaphorical trenches to make a difference in his community. About the homeless problem that concerns so much of Los Angeles, he says, “I’ll make myself go down there and help, roll up my sleeves and make sure that people have something to eat.” It’s an attitude he echoes with regard to his work, the idea of pitching in, working hard to finish a job. In fact, he employs the same attitude toward his outside endeavors as he does toward the productions that have formed the foundation of his decades-long career in television: “Everyone has to roll up their sleeves and make sure that [the work] gets done.”