It was Nov. 30, 2016, when a Rhode Island woman raced to the hospital, trying desperately to get her brother to the emergency room. In her panicked state, the woman parked her car in the first free space she could find, not realizing her vehicle was illegally parked in a crosswalk.
The situation became complicated when the woman did not receive the parking ticket in the mail, and she soon found herself in court, standing in front of the famed Judge Frank Caprio. By this time, her parking ticket had tripled in cost, and Judge Caprio was prepared to hand over his judgment.
Judge Caprio, 80, is the star of the television series, “Caught in Providence,” where he has heard every complaint, excuse, and trick in the book. The judge is known for taking a personable, respectful, and often merciful approach with the men and women who stand before him in court.
As the woman explained her story, Judge Caprio sensed a genuine concern that this sister had for her brother. She had spent that entire day by her brother’s hospital bed, not giving a second thought as to where her vehicle was parked.
When Judge Caprio asked how her brother was doing now, she admitted that he was in rehab. From her weary eyes, it looked as though she’d been carrying the large burden of shouldering a troubled family member for a long time.
The judge first waived the penalties for the parking ticket, reducing the amount to just $30.00. The grateful woman thanked the judge, prepared to accept the fine and move on with her life.
But Judge Caprio wasn’t finished yet. His years of experience had taught him that sometimes, a person just needs a win, a little mercy.
“I think you performed an errand of mercy,” Judge Caprio declared, dismissing the ticket entirely. “I can tell by looking at your face that this is a problem you’ve been handling, and you’re trying to do something good — and I can understand how you get tied up in court.”
A weight lifted from her shoulders, the woman gave a smile. “Thank you, thank you,” she repeated over and over again.
“Plus, you have a pretty good record,” the judge, known for his jolly sense of humor, told the smiling woman. “I think you need a break, that’s what I think.”
Handing down a judgment is really not an enviable position, nor one to be taken lightly. In spite of all he hears day in and day out, Judge Caprio seems to have a big-picture perspective of life, parceling out mercy to a hurting world.
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