PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After nearly four decades, Judge Frank Caprio is no longer one of the three judges elected to serve on Providence’s municipal court.

On Thursday, the Providence City Council elected and swore in three municipal court judges to serve on the bench: John Lombardi, Dan McKiernan and Vanessa Crum.

Lombardi will serve as chief judge, replacing Caprio, who announced he’d be retiring last week.

“This is going to be about the people of Providence and the court, nothing more,” Lombardi told 12 News after he was sworn in. “It’s not going to be about me, it’s never going to be about me. Anybody that knows me, knows that.”

Crum made history becoming the first African American woman to sit on the municipal court bench.

“This is a council that not only talks about inclusion and diversity but puts it into action,” Crum said in a statement. “I was born and raised in Providence during a time of very little inclusion. I recognize the importance of all young people seeing someone that looks like them, whether in private business or government.”

The council elected Caprio to serve as “chief judge emeritus” on the court, which is a volunteer position. Council members also approved a resolution to rename the municipal courtroom after Caprio.

“He’s contributed a lot to our court system, and we really appreciate that,” Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris said. “I think he means a lot to the city of Providence. We all know him and we love him.”

The council president had asked the city solicitor to review Caprio’s popular TV show “Caught in Providence” and its relation to the city.

The solicitor said there is “no written agreement” or relationship between the city and the show.
As for any ethical implications, the solicitor said relevant facts may have changed since 2015, when the state’s ethics commission gave the OK for the judge’s brother to get paid for the show.

The solicitor advised the council to require Caprio to seek an updated opinion from the ethics commission.

Caprio’s brother posted on social media last week, saying the show would no longer be filmed in the municipal courtroom.

As for his priorities, Lombardi tells 12 News the municipal court needs some physical upgrades, as well as books and computers, and raises for the staff.