Act of Compassion Transforms Young Adults Life

In what others might consider a strange form of justice, instead of sending 27-year-old high school dropout, Edward Martell to prison, Detroit Judge Bruce Morrow gave him a challenge.

Judge Morrow said would give Martell a break. In court on drug charges, Martell’s crimes carried a maximum 20-year drug conviction sentence. Seeing something in Martell, Judge Morrow sentenced Martell to probation and told him the next time he saw Mortell in his courtroom, he expected him to make something of himself.

Ed Martell

“He said, ‘I challenge you to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company instead of being out here selling drugs,’” Martell told Deadline Detroit. “And I love a challenge.”

“It was kind of in jest,” Morrow recalled in an interview with The Washington Post, “but he understood I believed he could be anything he wanted to be.”

Martell did not disappoint.

Sixteen years later Martell returned to Judge Morrow’s courtroom to be sworn in as an attorney who passed the Michigan state bar.

Martell was initially discouraged from pursuing a career in law by school guidance counselors concerned that his criminal record would be an impediment. However, Martell remained determined to attend law school. After obtaining his associate’s degree at a local community college, Martell received scholarships to complete both his undergraduate studies and law school.

Judge Bruce Morrow

Following law school, Martell clerked at the Public Defender’s Office for the District of Columbia, before spending time in private practice as a legal research assistant in the Washington, D.C. area.

Impeded by his criminal record from being able to take the bar exam, with the help of legal mentors, friends, and Judge Morrow, who he had kept in contact over the years, Martell submitted an appeal to be admitted to the bar.

Successful in his bar review application, Martell stood in Judge Morrow’s courtroom beaming with a smile being admitted to the bar.

Currently, Martell still works in private practice but no longer as a researcher, but as the newest attorney of the Perkins Group, LLC.

Source: Deadline Detroit