Role in the film
Judge Cranfield appears at the end of the film where he presides over the case in which Josh Framm and Norman Snively fight for the custody of Buddy. Initially finding the case quite ridiculous (especially when Snively enters in his birthday clown disguise), Judge Cranfield reluctantly accepts the case. During the trial, both sides try to make their point, but without hard evidence (Snively's papers proving his ownership of Buddy having being ruined when he fell into the lake while chasing Josh and Buddy, and Josh having no solid proof that Snively was abusing Buddy), the whole trial appears to go nowhere, especially when the Judge gets frustrated by Buddy always barking whenever he bangs his gravel to restore order in the court. Fortunately, Arthur Chaney, Josh's basketball coach, arrives and suggests to let Buddy decide for himself. Being a fan of Chaney back when Chaney was still a basketball player, Judge Cranfield agrees to the suggestion and moves the trial to the courtyard outside the courthouse building, telling Josh and Snively to remain on their spots while calling for Buddy and that they would lose if they take a step towards the dog. As the calling commences, Judge Cranfield watches unimpressively until Buddy finally runs towards Josh (after attacking Snively and tearing up the roll of newspaper that Snively often abuses him with), at which he declares that the custody of the dog will be granted to Josh Framm and closes the case, much to his relief. When Snively angrily protests, Judge Cranfield, having had enough of the clown, orders his arrest. He then remains slumped in a tired-out way while the rest of the town celebrates for Buddy's new home as the film ends.