November 04, 2021
Sixteen years ago, a seasoned drug dealer going nowhere in life begged a judge for mercy. Recently, he entered that same courtroom, just as emotional, but this time his whole life had transformed into something he could have never imagined.
There are different opinions as to how justice systems should work. Some believe criminals should get what they deserve, while others think that those who commit crimes can be rehabilitated. It is clear what side of the argument Judge Bruce Morrow stands, having expressed:
"I am a hippy, 1960's, hardworking, believe-in-the-best-of-people, loving-on-everybody-I-can type of judge."
This judge believes that the purpose of his line of work is to assist individuals with reintegrating into society. Now, however dubious you may think of Morrow's approach, his experience with one young man, at the very least, makes one consider his position.
Edward Martell, a Mexican American, grew up in poverty, with only a single mother to look after him. From 13 years old, he began to have run-ins with the laws. Finally, at 27, he was caught in a sting operation, having to stand trial for dealing drugs.
Standing in front of Judge Morrow at Wayne County courtroom, Martell was likely to be sentenced to 20 years in prison. It appeared as though this criminal's life was over and that he had become a lost cause.
"He said 'Mr. Martell, you don't have to be out here selling drugs. You have greatness within you. I challenge you, be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.'"
Looking back on the day this young man walked into the courtroom, the judge claimed that he saw someone with tremendous potential who had lost their way.
Inspired by this, the young adult decided that he wanted to become a lawyer. His delinquent background worked against him, facing those who thought he shouldn't or couldn't become a lawyer.
However, despite all this, Martell pushed through. He got his G.E.D, obtained an associate's degree, passed university on a scholarship, passed law school, and much more. He eventually worked to find his way back into that same courtroom, but for a much different reason.
In 2021, 16 years after the now-43-year-old Martell's almost-conviction, no other than Judge Bruce Morrow swore him into the State Bar of Michigan.
"I can't use this story to further my career, I have to use it to pave the path for others who stand where I did all those years ago."
What do you think of this judge's decision to give Martell a second chance? How do you think criminals and convicted prisoners should be treated in the eyes of the law?