DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area man who shed a life of crime and became a lawyer is grateful to a judge who ordered probation over prison.
“It seems surreal still,” Ed Martell told WDIV-TV. “It’s only been a few days and when clients call and say, ‘Can I talk to attorney Ed Martell?’ I have to pinch myself.”
In May, Martell was sworn in as a member of the State Bar of Michigan by Wayne County Judge Bruce Morrow.
Martell was 27 years old in 2005, a high school dropout with a criminal record. He appeared in Morrow’s court facing possible prison time for delivery and manufacture of cocaine.
“I will never forget the challenge,” Martell recalled. “He said, ‘Mr. Martell, I dare you to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company instead of selling drugs.’”
Martell got a GED, attended community college and got scholarships to University of Detroit Mercy and U-D Mercy’s law school.
“I feel humbled and grateful that somebody gave me the opportunity,” Martell said. “Ultimately, I’m living proof that it can come to pass.”
Morrow recalled when Martell appeared in front of him.
“Underneath what I saw was a man needing my love,” the judge said.
Martell’s turnaround was first reported in May by Deadline Detroit, a news website.