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Former Warner Robins mayor's donation shows up on Rhode Island courtroom TV show

Chuck Shaheen says he wrote a letter and a $150 check to Judge Frank Caprio, who hosts 'Caught in Providence.' He hoped to give a break to someone who needed it.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — If you're a fan of the Rhode Island courtroom TV show "Caught in Providence," you may have heard a familiar name in their latest episode.

Former Warner Robins Mayor and Councilman Chuck Shaheen.

Shaheen says he's been a longtime fan of the show.

"I see 'Caught in Providence' on Facebook and the judge, Caprio, reminded me of Judge Fred Graham," he says.

He appointed Graham as a Warner Robins Municipal Court Judge in 2010.

Shaheen says he wrote this letter to Judge Frank Caprio, along with a $150 check, hoping to give a break to someone who needed it.

Credit: Chuck Shaheen

"Never thought anybody would ever know. Kind of anonymous," says Shaheen. 

He says he sent the letter about a year ago and just assumed the donation had already been given out.

Then, on Friday, the show posted a new episode to Facebook.

"What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use a $150 from Chuck Shaheen, former Mayor of Warner Robins, Georgia," said Judge Caprio, in the clip.

The check went to help William Sequeria, who says he'd spent 30 years in federal prison for robbing banks.

Sequeria, who has been out and getting back on his feet for the last two years, appeared in front of Caprio for three traffic tickets he got while driving for his new job.

"I get donations from all over the country," he said. "Making contributions for me to use if I think someone deserves a break. I'm proud of you because you turned your life around," said Caprio in the clip.

Shaheen says he was surprised when friends sent him the video because he mailed the check so long ago.

"I watched the video all the way through and I thought 'Wow, I can't believe he said anything," says Shaheen.

He says Judge Graham runs his courtroom in a firm but fair way, like Judge Caprio, and he wanted to pay it forward.

According to Shaheen, Graham likes to say, depending on the offense, you have to take into account what is going on in someone's personal life because sometimes, a fine may do more harm than good.

Shaheen says he's glad the money helped Sequeria keep his life on track.

"I hope it helped the gentleman out. There's a lot of people like him that are really in need and I hope he passes it on to somebody else one day."

Over the phone. Judge Caprio said they get donations from all over the world.

It started with one donation from a woman in Indiana that he used in one of the episodes to help someone.

"After that, it just became an avalanche of people from all over the world began to send in checks. I have never solicited not one penny from anyone to send in money to help," says Caprio.

Some for $3, some for $1,000, but all looking to help, just like Shaheen.

"I conduct a rather unconventional court. I take into consideration an individual's personal circumstances and their life's problems, as well as the offense," says Caprio.

He says it's nice to see there are good people out there who want to help.

"It's a testament to the innate goodness of people throughout the world," says Caprio.

To watch the whole episode of "Caught in Providence," click here.

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