Struggling Single Mom Is Summoned to Courtroom – Judge Issues Her a $350 Fine but Then Changes His Mind
One judge was ready to throw the book at a single mother, until her touching story created courtroom magic.
Plenty of people are familiar with Judge Frank Caprio’s brand of generous justice. Millions from around the world have witnessed his acts of compassion on his ‘Caught in Providence’ channel. In fact, we’ve shined a light on some of his acts like this one before.
Yet on this morning in Caprio’s court, he was not in a great mood with defendant Gladys Rodriguez. The judge wasted no time in grilling her. “Gladys, what are we going to do with you?!” he asked.
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Then like a scolding father, he listed her nine driving violations, consisting of running red lights and speeding. That’s when Rodriguez shared her story that changed the judge’s tune.
She said that she was in a physically abusive relationship. The motivation behind some of her tickets was escaping her stalking abuser, who has terrorized her and her 9-year-old daughter.
His tone softening, Caprio said that while not all were due to her being pursued, it’s clear that she wasn’t in a clear state of mind when behind the wheel.
He then turned the attention to how Gladys would be able to pay the 9 tickets, totaling $350. For a struggling single mom, it’s money that Gladys simply didn’t have.
With the motivation to help, Judge Caprio handed down a ruling from the heart.
“I can understand that you’re going through some difficulty, so we’re gonna try to help you out,” he started. “There are in this country some very generous people, some very compassionate and understanding people.”
He said that due to his popularity, he receives letters from people from all over the world with many of them having cheques enclosed because they want to help other people.
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The judge then opened a letter from one such kind soul named Josef Barras from Kingston, Pennsylvania.
He sent him a cheque for $100 asking that judge Caprio use it ‘exercising my discretion, but that I do exercise some compassion and empathy.’
Judge Caprio then said that he’d use that money towards paying Gladys’s fines.
But he was just getting started.
He opened up a second letter from the Fields family, this time from across the country in Arizona. The Fields were both immigrants and enclosed $75 to help someone in need. With that, Gladys’s fine was down to $175.
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If you suspect that Judge Caprio wasn’t done yet, you’re right.
He pulled out a third envelope with a $50 cheque from a Zeno Meuller residing in Costa Mesa, California.
Make it $125.
Tearing up, Gladys asked Judge Caprio if she could give him a hug.
“Come on up here,” he said.
“Thank you, thank you, I appreciate it,” she said in a low voice. The courtroom broke out in applause.
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Between raising a daughter on her own and keeping them safe from her ex, the road won’t be easy for Gladys. Sadly, her situation isn’t a rare one.
According to the World Health Organization, “about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence in their lifetime.”
Thanks to one judge’s kindness, she can know that she’s not alone and that someone cares.
As for Judge Caprio, he’ll be retiring this year after almost 40 years on the bench, leaving quite the legacy and big shoes to fill. Not bad for someone who started life as a dishwasher and shoe-shiner.
Among the quotes on kindness, one reads, ‘Sometimes it takes only one act of kindness and caring to change a person’s life.’
If there’s one thing we can all take from Judge Caprio, it’s that you don’t need a gavel to do good. Like him, if you listen with compassion and act with empathy, you can make a huge impact in the court of life.