SIXTEEN YEARS AGO HE STOOD BEFORE THE JUDGE AS A CONVICTED DRUG DEALER, NOW HE STANDS BEFORE THE SAME JUDGE TO BE SWORN IN AS AN ATTORNEY.
Being a criminal defense attorney in Orange County can be tough and demanding work. I know that every one of my clients is a unique individual and I can only be their advocate when I understand how they landed on the other side of my desk. A proper defense requires that I learn about my client’s personal story, which often includes getting to know my clients’ families too. While I celebrate the victories with my clients, sometimes the outcome is less than what we hoped for. Even though this is part of the business, I am still disappointed and feel the pain along with the client whom I have gotten to know as an individual, someone who is more than an accused criminal in front of the judge’s bench. That is why the following story is so instructive and affirming of my attitude as a criminal defense attorney.
Sixteen years ago 27-year-old Ed Martell stood before Judge Bruce Morrow in his Michigan courtroom and pleaded guilty to selling and manufacturing crack cocaine. The defendant faced a maximum 20-year prison sentence. Having grown up in challenging circumstances — the son of a single mother living in low-income housing and relying on government assistance – Mr. Martell entered the world of drug dealing at a young age. By 13 years old, he received his first felony conviction, followed by another two years later. He dropped out of high school to continue his drug trafficking career. Mr. Martell estimated that he had stood before at least 20 judges before his encounter with Judge Morrow.