Nearly 12 years ago Camden, New Jersey native Carmen Day sat in a courtroom before New Jersey Superior Court Judge Charles Dortch awaiting her sentence for a minor offense that she committed. Day—who was 17-years-old at the time—pled with Judge Dortch to have her sentence reduced and promised to become a lawyer in the future. According to Black News, she kept her word and is close to bringing her promise to fruition.
Prior to her brush with the law, Day aspired to go to college and law school, the news outlet writes. After she was granted a shorter probation sentence by Judge Dortch, Day got on the right track and is now finishing up her last semester at Rutgers Law School. She says she wouldn’t have been able to get to this point if it weren’t for Dortch giving her a chance to right her wrongs.
“He didn’t see me as a docket number, or some poor girl from Camden,” said Day in a statement. “He saw me as a girl who needed help, who needed a chance.” Day—now a married mother of two—hopes that her journey will inspire other individuals who have been in similar situations. “You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become,” she said.
Dortch and Day were reunited when she and other law school students visited the courthouse where he worked. “She really stuck out in my mind,” Dortch told NJ.com. “I saw a lot of perseverance in her face.” He also added that seeing her rise up, overcome her situation, and turn her life around for the better made his career.