After 14 years in prison for armed robbery, reformed Detroiter passes bar

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-01 14:39:34-04

It's never too late to turn your life around.

Detroit's own Pete Martel is living proof that people can change.

In 1994, Pete served time for armed robbery, shooting at police officers and trying to escape from prison.

Pete was a hardcore criminal. He served 14 years behind bars, most of it in solitary confinement.

Pete was one the bad guys - but now Pete is on the right side of the law.

While doing time, Pete became a legal writer. He helped other inmates do research for their appeals. This work became Pete’s passion and his purpose.

"I felt like, maybe somewhere down the road once I get released, given the time and the money and the opportunity and all kinds of other stuff, maybe I’ll end up at SADO someday," he says.

Pete accomplished his mission; he is now a mitigation specialist at SADO -- and he just passed the bar.

"One of my greatest accomplishments is hiring someone like Pete, I feel, empowering him to do what he does", says Dawn van Hoek, of the State Appellate Defender Office.

Pete will soon join SADO's team of lawyers but he will continue his work inside the prison system.

The hope is to help produce more good citizens, like Pete. He is proof that you don't have to let your past define your present or your future.