Wikipedia Encyclopedia

Frank Caprio

Frank Caprio

Francesco "Frank" Caprio (born November 24, 1936) is an American jurist, politician, and currently serving as the chief municipal judge in Providence, Rhode Island and the former Chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors. His judicial work is televised on the television program Caught in Providence.[3][4] He also has made appearances in the series Parking Wars dealing with several cases of traffic violations in his courtroom.

Frank Caprio
Caprio in 2018
Chief Judge of the Municipal Court of Providence
Assumed office
Appointed byJoseph R. Paolino Jr.
Member of the Providence City Council
In office
Personal details
Francesco Caprio

(1936-11-24) November 24, 1936
Federal Hill, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic[1]
Spouse(s)Joyce E. Caprio
Children5, including Frank and David
EducationProvidence College (BA)
Suffolk University (JD)
  • Television personality
  • jurist
  • politician
  • teacher
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1954–1962
UnitRhode Island Army National Guard

In 2017, videos showing his courtroom went viral, with more than 15 million views.[5][6] In 2020, views of Caught in Providence were nearing 300 million[7] and one video shared on Pulptastic had 43.6 million views on YouTube.[8]

Early life and education

Caprio was born in the Italian American neighborhood of Federal Hill, Providence, the second oldest of the three sons of Antonio Caprio, an immigrant father from Teano, Italy, and Filomena Caprio, an Italian American mother from Providence whose family had immigrated from Naples, Italy.[9] His father worked as a fruit peddler and a milkman.[9][10]

Caprio attended the Providence public schools, while working as a dishwasher and shoe-shiner. He graduated from Central High School, where he won the state title in wrestling in 1953.[11] He earned a bachelor's degree from Providence College.[12] After graduating, he began teaching American government at Hope High School in Providence, Rhode Island. While teaching at Hope, Caprio attended the night school of the Suffolk University School of Law in Boston. This subsequently led to him joining the legal profession.[13] Caprio also served in the National Guard from 1954 to 1962 in the 876th Combat Engineer Battalion. During his time in the National Guard, he was stationed at Camp Varnum in Narragansett and Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania.[11][9][14][15]


Caprio was elected to the Providence City Council in 1962 and served until 1968. He was elected as a Delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention in 1975 and he has been elected as a Delegate to five Democratic National Conventions. He served as chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education which controls major decisions for the University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and Community College of Rhode Island.[9] Since 1985, he has served as a Providence Municipal Court Judge.[4] Parts of the proceedings over which he presided, featuring low-level citations, ran for more than two decades on local television.[16][17] Caprio's TV series, Caught in Providence originated on PEG access television in Rhode Island and was first picked up by ABC station WLNE-TV in 2000, initially airing in late night on Saturdays.[18] Following a hiatus, Caught in Providence returned in 2015 and aired following the 11 o'clock newscasts on Saturdays until September 2017.[19] Clips from this show went viral in the 2010s[20] The program has also received coverage from media organizations around the world, such as NBC News.[21] On September 24, 2018, Caught in Providence went into national syndication.[22] The show was renewed for a second season of syndication in January 2019.[23]

Caprio is also a partner in the Coast Guard House Restaurant in Narragansett, Rhode Island.[12]

Community outreach

At Suffolk University School of Law, Caprio founded the Antonio "Tup" Caprio Scholarship Fund.[12] This scholarship, named after the Judge's father, who had only a fifth grade education, is for Rhode Island students who are committed to improving access to legal services in Rhode Island urban core neighborhoods. He has also established scholarships at Providence College, Suffolk Law School, and for graduates of Central High School, named in honor of his father.[24]

Caprio has been involved in the Boys Town of Italy, the Nickerson House Juvenile Court and Rhode Island Food Bank. In 1983 he was the Co-Chair for the Rhode Island Statue of Liberty Foundation (raising funds for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island). Caprio was also a member of the Board of Regents of Elementary and Secondary education and the Governor's Pre-K thru 16 Council on education.[25] He is a member of the President's Council at Providence College.[11]

Awards and honors

Caprio was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law by his alma mater Suffolk University Law School in 1991 and Providence College in 2008,[26] and also received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of Rhode Island in 2016.[27] In August 2018, Caprio received the Producer's Circle Award at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.[28]

Personal life

Caprio has been married to Joyce E. Caprio for over 50 years.[9] They have five children together, including: Frank T. Caprio, David Caprio, Marissa Caprio Pesce, John Caprio, and Paul Caprio.[9] They also have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.[9] An avid Boston Red Sox fan, Caprio threw the ceremonial first pitch on July 25, 2019, at Fenway Park when the Red Sox took on the New York Yankees.[29]


  1. "H 9114". State of Rhode Island in General Assembly.
  2. "Frank Caprio: The Former Teacher, Judge, and Television Personality". Chalkboard Champions, 26 March 2018.
  3. "People having tough days". Caught in Providence You Tube Channel. Caught in Providence. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  4. "Caught in Providence". Official website. Archived from the original on 9 August 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  5. "80-year-old judge becomes unlikely internet star". CBS News. 23 August 2017. Archived from the original on 11 May 2019. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  6. "Viral Judge Frank Caprio Rules With A Big Heart". NBC News. 7 November 2017. Archived from the original on 27 July 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  8. This Judge Had The Best Reaction To This Little Boy's Honesty on YouTube
  9. "Judge Frank Caprio Wants Justice for All". 20 February 2019. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  10. "Caprio: Leave the ladder down, so others may follow". May 19, 2016. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  11. "Providence is home court for TV Judge Frank Caprio '58 & '08Hon". May 8, 2019. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019. Retrieved May 19, 2019.
  12. 1998 Congressional Record, Vol. 144, Page S5244
  13. "The civics lesson and the last chance for a pan handler: Judge Caprio trying a school teacher". You tube (Caught in Providence Channel). You Tube / Caught in Providence. Archived from the original on 17 December 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  14. "A Family of Veterans, Hurricane High Gravity, and Help Yourself" Archived 2021-01-29 at the Wayback Machine. November 15, 2018.
  15. Bolinger, James. "Compassionate rulings make judge with soft spot for veterans an internet sensation" Archived 2020-08-12 at the Wayback Machine. Stars and Stripes. November 8, 2018.
  16. Amaral, Brian. "'Caught in Providence' is now courting a national audience". Archived from the original on 2019-08-06. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  17. "Saved by the car clock". YouTube. Caught in Providence. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  18. Forliti, Amy (July 17, 2002). "Providence crime suspects star in courtroom TV show". Napa Valley Register. Associated Press. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  19. "Caught in Providence Back on ABC 6". New England One. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  20. "Caught in Providence video goes viral on YouTube". WLNE-TV / ABC6. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  21. Dahlgren, Kristen. "Viral Judge Frank Caprio Rules With a Big Heart". NBC News. NBCUniversal Media, LLC. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  22. "An honest boy". YouTube. Caught in Providence. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  23. Albiniak, Paige (10 January 2019). "'Caught in Providence' Cleared to Return for Season Two". NextTV. Archived from the original on 27 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  24. "Who is judge Frank Caprio? Top 7 videos that made him an internet sensation". International Business Times, India Edition. 1 August 2017. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  25. "Task Force Will Boost Numbers Completing Degrees" (PDF). Highlights. No. 1. Rhode Island Office of Higher Education. Winter 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  26. "Caprio: Leave the ladder down, so others may follow". The Independent. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  27. "Commencement 2016: University of Rhode Island to present 5 honorary doctorates this year". University of Rhode Island. URI Today. 2 May 2016. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  28. "LIVE: Caprio's "Caught in Providence" Begins National Distribution". GoLocalProv. Archived from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  29. "Judge Caprio to throw out first pitch at Yankees-Red Sox game on Thursday". July 23, 2019. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
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