WAM Francesco Caprio-1694704116265
Former Chief Judge in US Frank Caprio speaking at the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2023) in Sharjah on Thursday. Image Credit: Wam

Sharjah: Former Chief Judge of the Municipal Court of Providence in US, Frank Caprio said that he exercised his discretion very liberally to try and help the community.

“People are watching me out of curiosity, but I think that people know that I exercise discretion in every single case. So, if warranted, in a case with special circumstances, I exercise my discretion very liberally to try and help them,” said Judge Caprio. He was the keynote speaker on Thursday at the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2023) organised by the Sharjah Government Media Bureau at Expo Centre Sharjah.

Advice for judges

Judge Caprio believes that judges should be understanding and have compassion. He said that he tries to set an example for the people who appear before him by treating them with compassion, understanding, and integrity.

Judge Caprio’s message has resonated with people around the world, including in the UAE. He said that the UAE is the largest base that follows his hearings on social media platforms. “I am very grateful for the support of the people in the UAE,” Judge Caprio said. “I am glad that my message of compassion and understanding is being heard,” he added.

Judge Caprio has become a global icon for his compassionate and understanding approach to justice. His reputation skyrocketed through the power of social media, as videos capturing his courtroom proceedings resonated fare and wide.

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Social media sensation

Caprio’s compassionate rulings made him a global viral sensation on social media, earning him the reputation as “The Nicest Judge in the World”. Judge Caprio also received special recognition during the Sharjah Government Communication Award (SGCA) ceremony.

The 86-year-old judge also has his televised judicial work on the widely watched programme, ‘Caught in Providence,’ which has a total viewership on its YouTube page of over 500 million views.

Judge Caprio attributed his success to his commitment to exercising discretion in every single case. He told WAM that he takes into consideration the background of the people who appear before him and tries to help them by understanding their situation and placing himself in their shoes.

A revered figure

Judge Caprio’s commitment to delivering compassionate rulings and his genuine understanding of the circumstances faced by those who stood before him have elevated him to the status of a revered figure in the world of jurisprudence.

One of Judge Caprio’s most viral case, he said, involved a 96-year-old man who was charged with speeding. When the judge asked the man how he pleaded, the man replied that he didn’t speed, but that he was driving his son to a doctor to get his cancer treatment. The judge was so moved by the man’s story that he dismissed the case and even visited the man in his home to become friends with him.

“I asked him ‘How do you plea?’ and then he said ‘I don’t speed. However, I was driving my son to a doctor to get his cancer treatment.’ And I said, “How old is your son?’ to which he replied 63 years old. So that’s why I tried to put him at ease and said “Kids, you always have to take care of them,’ and we had a wonderful conversation about that. However, I was so moved because a 96-year old gentleman was still taking his child for cancer treatments. Therefore, I dismissed his case.

100th birthday

“I, then, visited Victor in his home and became friends with Victor and helped him celebrate his 100th birthday very recently, and I also invited Victor to my home. Sometimes, being in court is a little more than being a judge and respond. So that is the case that went viral and which I remember very well.”

Judge Caprio said: “I do have a soft spot for children. One episode in a child’s life can change that child. I know the situation where a young man went to court with his dad to translate for him, because they came from another country, and the judge was so understanding that led to change that young man’s life. I always thought that if that judge was mean and cruel and didn’t help, then things would turn out very different for that young man.”

Judge Caprio’s impact on his community and the world is profound. He has shown that it is possible to be a fair and just judge while also being compassionate and understanding. His example has inspired people around the world to see justice in a new light.