Convict allowed to practice law

After being convicted of three felonies, the changed man graduated from one of America’s top law schools

Convict allowed to practice law
Reginald Dwayne Betts was convicted of three felonies. Now he can practice law in Connecticut.

Last week, the 36-year-old won approval from the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee for inclusion in the state bar.

“I'm happy that they made that decision,” Betts told The Associated Press. “I'm just grateful for the huge amount of support people gave me.”

Betts was 16 when he was involved in armed robbery and carjacking, leading to his convictions and eight-year prison term. Once out, he graduated from the University of Maryland and won a Harvard University fellowship. He also authored award-winning poetry books and a memoir.

Last summer, he graduated from Yale Law School and he passed the Connecticut bar exam in February.

His file was flagged when he passed the bar. Though Connecticut does not forbid felons from becoming attorneys, they must prove that they have good moral character and fitness to practice law.

Betts, said he wants to become a law professor, is currently working on a doctorate in law at Yale. He recently interned at the New Haven public defender’s office and has an offer for a clerkship with a federal judge next year.

“I think that his story is a remarkable story. Mr. Betts demonstrated his commitment to others who may have lost their way. He has a great deal to offer, in addition to what he has already done,” said former Connecticut Judge Anne Dranginis, chairwoman of the committee.

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