Regarded by many as the personification of self-determination and actualization, Judge Greg Mathis survived a harried and profoundly difficult adolescence to establish himself as a respected social activist and courtroom justice. A native of Detroit, MI, Mathis grew up in the inner city and dropped out of high school prior to graduation, then sank into a morass of crime before a judge issued an ultimatum to him: either earn his G.E.D. or face a lengthy jail sentence. Mathis not only opted for the G.E.D., but aggressively turned his life around. He attended Eastern Michigan University (where he immersed himself in politics and led a student-run movement to protest South African apartheid); following graduation, Mathis established himself as an ardent civil rights activist, worked on Reverend Jesse Jackson's Operation PUSH, and received an appointment to the staff of Detroit councilman Clyde Cleveland. Mathis also spent seven years (1986-1993) working for Detroit mayor Coleman A. Young as manager of the Detroit City Halls.
In 1995, Mathis was elected to Michigan's 36th District Court, making him the youngest individual in the state to ever receive such an appointment. His efforts in that arena prompted Warner Brothers Entertainment to offer him his own eponymous courtroom reality series (patterned structurally after The People's Court and other similar efforts), which began on a syndicated basis in 1999. Mathis has appeared as a guest on dozens of talk programs including The Tonight Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. He also remained fully active in civil rights, social causes, and charities.