When Andrea appeared in Judge Frank Caprio’s court in Providence, Rhode Island, for unpaid parking violations, the judge had every reason to throw the book at her. She had parking tickets from past years that she wasn’t even aware of, though she only owed the city about $50. She had a few recent tickets as well.
But when Judge Caprio dug a little deeper, he uncovered a tale of spiraling depression and heartbreak. Andrea’s son died in 2016, and the social security office said he owed them $75. She went to the office to straighten it out, and found a ticket on her car.
Her son’s funeral expenses were high, and she was struggling to pay them off when her landlord evicted her. They went to court, and when she left the courthouse later that day, she found another ticket. She also got another one on the day she went to an office to see if she could get legal services. She was struggling to get her finances together to move into a new apartment. The stress added up, and she told the judge she was on anti-depressants and felt “empty and lost.”
Judge Caprio has a tough, no-nonsense manner — and doesn’t suffer fools in his court. But he also has a strong sense of compassion. Watch him exercise his considerable empathy in the video below, and reach out to someone in need of a break, and a good ear…