Monday, February 16, 2009

City of Providence Wants Judge Caprio To Step It Up

This right here is just a shame that the city wants to put pressure on the courts to generate more money when people are struggling to make ends meet everyday. I commend Judge Caprio for being honorable and fair. I think he is doing the right thing and giving a break to people who deserve it. He's also right that the court should not be a revenue engine for the city. They should be looking to create long term revenue streams from something that is more productive for the city and helps all people. Story via ProJo:

Caprio, whose videotaped court proceedings play regularly on the popular public-access show Caught in Providence, hears from nearly 150 people before court adjourns. Nearly all walk away paying less than they expected, or, in some cases, nothing at all.

Some city officials think Caprio and the three other Municipal Court judges might be a little too forgiving to those who come before them, and it is costing the city money.

Mayor David N. Cicilline’s director of administration, Richard I. Kerbel, says the court — which deals with traffic and moving violations and some misdemeanor offenses — is not on pace to meet the city’s revenue estimates.

So, in not so many words, he is asking the courts to step it up.

But Caprio says the court is not a revenue engine. With the economy in tough shape, the court should show more compassion, not less, he says.

“A lot of people are hurting. You’d have to be inhuman not to take those factors in. You got to live in the real world. This is life and it’s all on vivid display here in court,” he said. “What am I supposed to say if a person comes in with four children and is on Food Stamps? ‘Sorry, the city needs money, so you have to pay?’ ”

But what about the cash-strapped city?

Kerbel said the court brings in a significant amount of money, but, he acknowledged, there is a fine line that the mayor’s office must consider: Municipal Court is one of three independent tribunals (the other two are housing and probate) whose judges are appointed by the City Council, not the mayor’s office.

“It’s very clear we cannot tell judges how to do their jobs,” he said. “All we can say is where we are in terms of our estimates, what would help, and what would not help.”

“Every mayor since 1985 has looked for more money from the court,” Caprio said, referring to Kerbel’s comments. “But we don’t get into that. We can’t. I’m not elected as a revenue enhancement officer. I’m elected as a judge.”

More: Providence


  1. People don't have any respect anymore like thank you judge!!!

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