I watch Caught in Providence sometimes on YouTube (I understand it's also broadcast on TV in the US). I'm from the UK, where generally speaking filming in court is not allowed, and I find the setup somewhat confusing.
I know filming/broadcasting court cases is often allowed in the US (I guess the OJ Simpson trial is a classic example), presumably because there's an argument that they are a public event, which seems reasonable from one perspective. In this particular case, though, it seems like a specific program is being produced by Judge Caprio and colleagues - there are cutaway segments where he and other regular characters talk about / introduce cases, etc. - it's editiorialized in such a way that it seems he is presenting his court as a show.
Isn't there an argument that he personally might profit from this, and this or his reptutation might sway his decisions / cause him to present things in a particular light? How is this allowed by ethics rules that presumably the judge is bound to follow? In effect, it seems like some defendants are being forced to appear on a TV show.
Note I'm not specifically saying that's true of Judge Caprio; in fact, I find the show fascinating, I learn a lot, and I think his general message of compassion is admirable. But one could imagine less ethical judges abusing this ("America's Worst Criminals").
I'm aware of things like Judge Judy, but my understanding is those are not real courts - they are effectively arbitration that both parties have agreed to be presented on TV. Unless the illusion is really good, this does appear to be a real court in Rhode Island.
Edit: For what it's worth - the description on the YouTube page is:
Real people have their cases heard in Providence Municipal Court. The cases include traffic, parking, and arraignments for criminal offenses.
Further, from the official website:
Judge Frank Caprio is the Chief Municipal Judge in Providence, Rhode Island and former Chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors. He was appointed in 1985, and has been re-appointed six times by the mayor of Providence and the Providence City Council.
All of the cases and people are real. Those who step in front of him have a little fun with the cameras, but Judge Caprio makes it clear that he is there to do his job.