16 years ago a judge gave a young trafficker a second chance. Today he returned to court to become a lawyer
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
When Edward Martell went to court in 2005 to plead guilty to selling and manufacturing cracks, he thought his life was over. However, Bruce Morrow, a Michigan judge decided to give him a second chance.
Martell, then 27, had had several run-ins with the law until he was arrested in a counternarcotics operation. When he pleaded guilty to selling and manufacturing crack, he knew he could face 20 years in jail.
Judge Morrow saw young Martell and understood the circumstances that had led the young man to life in crime. So he gave him a three-year probation sentence and a challenge: to return to that same court with an achievement.
Last week, according to The Washington Post , Edward returned to the same courthouse as Bruce Morrow, but this time to fulfill his promise: to be sworn in as a lawyer in the same courtroom where he pleaded guilty.
"It was kind of a joke, but [Edward] understood that I believed he could be whatever he wanted," Judge Morrow told The Washington Post .
After his first meeting with the magistrate, Edward earned a high school degree and then a scholarship to study law. He always kept in touch with the judge who had inspired him.
Martell underwent a strict background check in order to join the Michigan Bar Association, but the board determined that his past should not determine his future.
That's how Martell, now 43, returned to court to become a lawyer.
That is the power of mentoring.