Young drug dealer turns life around with help of Detroit judge, graduates law school

Former drug dealer becomes attorney

Young drug dealer turns life around with help of Detroit judge, graduates law school
Young drug dealer turns life around with help of Detroit judge, graduates law school

DETROIT – In 2005, Judge Bruce Morrow decided against a long prison sentence for Edward Martell, a young drug dealer with a growing list of offenses.

Since that time, Martell has returned to the courtroom as a colleague of Morrow in the legal profession.

“It seems surreal still,” Martell said. “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.”

Martell’s journey started in 2005, when he was standing before Morrow and facing drug charges.

“I will never forget the challenge,” Martell recalled. “He said, ‘Mr. Martell, I dare you to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 instead of selling drugs.’”

At the time, Martell was 27 and was no stranger to courtrooms. The high school drop out was convicted of more than a dozen nonviolent crimes. Morrow saw something in Martell and released him on bond, but a few months later, he was back in court with new drug charges.

“I knew he was shaking because I know that shake, that’s the shake I get when I get stopped by police,” Morrow said.

Facing 20 years in prison, Martell was given three years probation.

With Morrow’s guidance, Martell slowly turned his life around. He went to Wayne County Community College and earned a scholarship to the University of Detroit Mercy.

After finishing law school, Martell was back in Morrow’s courtroom to be sworn in as a member of the State Bar of Michigan.

“I feel humbled and grateful that somebody gave me the opportunity,” Martell said. “Ultimately, I’m living proof that it can come to pass.”

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