Judge Frank Caprio from Providence, Rhode Island, has become a sensation, famous for his witty dialog and tender-hearted rulings in his show, “Caught in Providence.”
While there are many cases that are aired for the purpose of entertainment, Caprio is insistent that his primary role is to provide just rulings, not gain viewers.
“Judge Frank Caprio is the Chief Municipal Judge in Providence, Rhode Island and former Chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors,” his website “About” page states. “He was appointed in 1985, and has been re-appointed six times by the mayor of Providence and the Providence City Council. All of the cases and people are real. Those who step in front of him have a little fun with the cameras, but Judge Caprio makes it clear that he is there to do his job.”
An oldie but goodie of an episode, posted on YouTube in July 2019, shows a timeless example of what it means to be a good father — and, according to the judge, “what America is all about.”
Victor Colella, then 96, had gotten a ticket for a school zone speeding violation — a ticket he vehemently denies having earned.
“I read the darn thing and I said, ‘What the heck is this?’” he told WPRI-TV. “It said, ‘You were speeding 30 miles an hour in a restricted zone.”
“When I read the bottom and it said $75, I said, ‘$75? I’m not going to pay that! I’m going to court and I’m going to object to it.'”
When he got into the courtroom and started talking to the judge, the rest of the story came out.
Colella maintained that he hadn’t been speeding, and explained that he’d been taking his handicapped 63-year-old son, who had cancer, to get bloodwork done. He added that he drives him to get his blood taken every two weeks, but doesn’t drive any more than absolutely necessary.
“I don’t drive that fast, Judge,” Colella said in the video. “I’m 96 years old and I drive slowly, and I only drive when I have to.”
Not only is Colella a model father, but according to the Cranston Herald, he also spent time in the Army Air Corps during World War II. In September 2019, he was recognized through an Honor Flight to the Washington, D.C., area.
As one of the oldest veterans being recognized that day, he and another 96-year-old were given the task of putting a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
That all took place after Caprio’s ruling, but it only goes to emphasize and validate the judge’s sentiments in what he said to the veteran.
“You are a good man,” Caprio stated. “You are a good man. You, you really are what America is all about. Here you are in your 90s, and you’re still taking care of your family. That’s just a wonderful thing for you.”
After hearing Colella’s tale, the judge dismissed his ticket and let him go, to return to caring for his boy.
“Listen, sir, I wish you all the best,” the judge said. “I wish the best for your son, and I wish you good health, and your case is dismissed. Good luck to you and God bless you.”
After the video of his hearing went viral, Colella was inundated with phone calls and people reaching out to him, a fact he seems to have very much enjoyed.
“I get calls from all over the country,” he said in a later interview, laughing. “I can get a kick out of it. I said at my age, I’m over 90 years old and they know me, I said that is pretty good.”
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