When a frazzled looking mom wheeled a stroller into the courtroom and towed small kids alongside her, Judge Frank Caprio joked, asking her “Are these your lawyers you have with you? Who are they?” The woman, who admitted to being a little nervous, asked for more time to pay a parking ticket. The judge looked through her file and noticed several other past due tickets. When he pointed them out to the young woman, he got a sense that more was going on than meets the eye.
Judge Frank Caprio has gained internet fame for his fair court rulings and understanding demeanor though he insists, “I’m not here on the court to be an entertainer . . . my primary role is to do justice.” Judge Caprio is the Chief Municipal Judge in Providence, Rhode Island. And while he’s aware the cameras are rolling in his courtroom, he knows that the real reason he is there is to do his job.
The young woman merely stated that her children’s father got the parking tickets. She didn’t ask for the tickets to be dismissed or claim that she shouldn’t be responsible for paying them. She initially simply asked for more time to pay.
The judge invited the woman’s 7-year-old daughter to the stand to help him make his decision. He asked the young girl if he should fine her mother $175 or not. The girl thought he meant ‘find’ her money and said, ‘yes’ until the kindly judge explained what he meant.
Judge Caprio, who is known for being kind in addition to being fair, told the woman he wasn’t going to make her pay the tickets, and the woman broke down crying in relief. The judge shared that though the woman hadn’t said so, he suspected the children’s father wasn’t “meeting his obligations as he should be.”
“Thank you,” the emotional mom said, wiping tears from her face as they streamed down her face.
The world could use more heartwarming gestures like these, am I right?