Life
Judge challenges drug dealer to change then 15 years later he swears him in as lawyer
Your past should not define your future.
Michael Dabu
06.08.22

When you thought you are good for nothing and the only thing you’re good at is messing your life up, someone will come into your life to prove you wrong.

That’s what Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Bruce Morrow did to Ed Martell.

Ed was a former drug dealer.

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He was a high school dropout in Inkster and he’s had multiple run-ins with the law. He’s had 35 arrests, 19 convictions, 2 adult felonies, and 2 juvenile felonies.

“I fell victim to my environment, I guess I could say, and then it became a trend,” he said. “I started hanging around with the wrong crowd, I got intertwined with the drug culture.”

No one would expect him to change, not until he was summoned to court before Judge Bruce Morrow.

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At that time, his offense was not a joke, he was expected to spend his life in prison from 1 to 20 years for selling illegal drugs.

However, luck was still on his side because he only got three years of probation and a challenge from the man who believed he’d still change for the better.

A challenge, a second chance, and an inspiration.

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Judge Morrow believed he’s still got enough time to re-evaluate himself and where he wanted his life to end up.

Instead of dealing with drugs as his source of living, he challenged Martell to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Ed wholeheartedly accepted the challenge and he started it by going back to school and enrolling at Wayne County Community College for his associates. After that, he received a full-time scholarship to law school at the University Detroit-Mercy.

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He needed to convince people that he was a changed person, so Ed shared his story with the character and fitness committee for the State Bar of Michigan.

By showing his clean intention and pure determination in being on the side of the law, the committee decided to give him a shot at becoming a lawyer despite his past offenses.

After 15 long years, he finally succeeded and became a lawyer!

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“I knew what I wanted to be, but when you come from a place where I came from, I didn’t grow up knowing any attorneys,” Ed said.

“I was certain my way it took a miracle, God sent that miracle in the form of a judge behind a bench of all places,” he added.

Just a year ago, he was sworn in by none other than Judge Morrow, the same exact person who believed in him and gave him the challenge to become a new person.

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“He’s like so many of the other people that come in front of us,” Judge Morrow said. “They are talented, they’re brilliant, they have abilities and skills that, if you were not looking to make people’s lives better and connect with them, you were only going to see the person and the offense that they’re charged with.”

A believer and a mentor.

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Judge Morrow also shared that he had been mentoring other talented people before Ed. These people were like Ed, given few opportunities, and had to turn against the law.

It’s clear that he believes second chances should be given to everyone and that it exempts no one, even those who committed crimes.

“I tell them you were sent to me – this isn’t random, you’re not in a place by coincidence, you’re here for a purpose,” he said.

Ed is now a member of the Perkins Law Group and he wanted other people to be inspired by his story.

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“It doesn’t matter what your past was, it doesn’t even matter what your present situation is, I would say just shoot for the stars,” he said.

It’s true, your past should never define your future.

Know more about this inspiring story by watching the video below.

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By Michael Dabu
hi@sbly.com
Michael Dabu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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