Sonia Montejano takes no nonsense as bailiff of the popular court show “Hot Bench.” Montejano calls on almost two decades of law enforcement experience to keep things running smoothly between judges and litigants. Michael Reel of Reel Urban News recently caught up with Montejano at the “Hot Bench” studio. Montejano explained that her training “comes into play when it needs to” when things get too hot in the courtroom.
Sonia Montejano serves as the bailiff on CBS Television Distribution’s syndicated court show HOT BENCH, created by Judge Judy Sheindlin. HOT BENCH returned for its fourth season on Monday, September 11, 2017. During the 2016-17 season, HOT BENCH was the # 3 first-run program in daytime television, delivering 3.2 million daily viewers.
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Montejano is a native of Northern Mexico and grew up in Los Angeles, where she still resides. She attended California State University Los Angeles and then moved into a career in law enforcement. It was Montejano’s desire to have a positive effect on gender equality, as well as her strong sense of justice, that led her to this decision. At the age of 21, she graduated from Rio Hondo Police Academy. She first became a Deputy with the Los Angeles County Marshal’s Department where she was assigned to the enforcement of civil judgments. When the department merged with the Los Angeles Sheriffs, Deputy Montejano was promoted to Senior Deputy and remained assigned to Court Services Division. In this role, she supervised personnel and courthouse operations. Her strategy skills were invaluable in preparing security plans for high-profile court cases, and it was during her tenure at the Beverly Hills Courthouse that she became involved in celebrity criminal trials, including those of actress Winona Ryder and singer Courtney Love.
Producers of “Judge Joe Brown” noticed her at those trials and offered her the position of bailiff on the syndicated show. After nearly 20 years on the force, Montejano retired to accept the job in 2006. She remained on the program until the show ended its run in 2013.
In her spare time, Montejano enjoys outdoor activities including jogging, hiking and mountain biking. She is also active in historic preservation and has restored several homes to their original Spanish Revival style. She is an active member of The Glendale Historical Society where she had served as a board member for nine years and was the Director of the Doctors House, a Victorian House Museum. Montejano speaks with children of all ages at various schools on the importance of education and has spent time promoting literature by reading to young students. She has also taught courses on manners to inspire confidence in young people to achieve their goals.
Montejano is fluent in Spanish, is an avid chess player, photographer and traveler and was a flamenco dancer for 10 years.
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HOT BENCH is created by Judge Judy Sheindlin and executive produced by David Theodosopoulos. Amy Freisleben and Belinda Jackson are co-executive producers. Patricia DiMango, Tanya Acker and Michael Corriero comprise the three-judge panel. HOT BENCH is produced by Big Ticket Pictures and Queen Bee Productions. It is distributed by CBS Television Distribution.