LEECHES

“Yeah, so I know you read the pre-sentencing report and all that and got the deal about my childhood, but I wanted to add that if you were looking at my recond and wondering like why, why would I just keep making the same stupid mistakes, why would I keep doing the same stupid things, you know, it’s like, I have to answer that I doubted any opportunities that presented themselves. You know what I’m saying? I never thought, I never thought I could be more. I was never, you know, told that. That I could be more.

“And the leeches, Your Honor, the leeches, they’re always there. Right there, telling me I’m nothing. Telling me it’s all about the money. Telling me I’m nothing without the money. Gonna lose my woman. Gonna lose my kids. Gotta get the money. Gotta play the game. Do what you know, kinda thing. “

Judge: By leeches are you talking about people? Are you talking about the company you keep?

“Yeah, I mean my so-called friends. But you know, now I’ve been in lock-up and I’m facing all this time, hard time, prison time, you know how many of these friends have come to visiting hours? You know how many call my wife and ask how I’m doing? Nobody. Not one. Nobody even asks how I’m doing, how I’m holding up. They don’t care if I’m dead or alive. I’m all alone in here.”

Judge: If you’re talking about leeches, let me tell you something. The leeches are always there. Each and every one of us in this courtroom, myself included, have leeches. Trying to tell us what to do. Giving us bad advice. Acting in self-interest. Trying to break us down, get us to make poor decisions. But you have to decide the company you want to keep. You have to decide what messages you are willing to hear. And especially after you get out, you can’t let the bad people try to get you back to where you were. So do everything you can to move on, to get away, while you have your time inside. Move far enough away that the leeches can’t get you. This is your chance to get yourself together, to make a better life.

“Yeah, Judge, I appreciate that. It’s still just kinda sad when you know, prison, prison is my big opportunity for change and success. I would have liked to have other opportunities, you know, early on. I would have liked to have just one adult, didn’t have to be my mom or my dad, they weren’t in that frame of mind. But just – anybody, you know? Just one trusted adult to say hey, man, you can be something. You can do something. You don’t have to mess up over and over. You can do better. I see the good in you. I trust you. Judge, I never heard that in my life. I just heard what a loser, what a mess, what a disappointment I was. But it is what it is. My chance has got to be prison, because it’s the only chance I got.”