Woman With A Troubled Past As A Teen Got A Second Chance From A Kind Judge, And Now She’s Graduated Law School

by Gee NY
Judge Charles Dortch and Carmen Allen Day

Carmen Allen Day’s journey from a troubled adolescent to a prospective legal professional shows the transformative impact of second chances within the judicial system.

At 34 years old, Day proudly walked the stage of Rutgers Law School in 2020, a testament to her perseverance and the compassion of a judge who recognized her potential.

Seventeen years earlier, as a 17-year-old confronting probation for a juvenile offense, Day stood before New Jersey Superior Court Judge Charles Dortch.

Voicing her contrition and her aspirations for the future, she pleaded for leniency, promising to pursue a career in law if granted the opportunity.

Moved by her sincerity, Judge Dortch reduced her probation sentence from 18 months to a mere 6.

Reflecting on that pivotal moment, Day acknowledges it as the pivotal juncture that inspired her transformation. In 2019, she revisited the same courtroom where her destiny was shaped, reuniting with Judge Dortch, now the presiding judge of the family division.

For Dortch, witnessing Day’s progression reaffirmed his faith in the justice system’s potential to instigate positive change.

Day’s journey to law school was fraught with challenges. Despite facing setbacks and hurdles, including two college dropouts, she persisted.

In 2015, she graduated with dual majors in political science and criminal justice, laying the groundwork for her legal aspirations.

Yet, the path to law school presented its own obstacles.

After grappling with the Law School Admission Test in 2017, Day encountered another setback. However, when Rutgers extended a conditional acceptance offer, she seized the chance, even if it meant enduring a grueling two-hour commute each day.

Throughout her odyssey, Day remained resolute in her commitment to honor the pledge she made to herself and Judge Dortch.

Her narrative serves as a poignant reminder that redemption knows no bounds, transcending past mistakes and circumstances.

As she embarks on her legal career, Day’s message resounds:

“You are not defined by your past. Your true essence lies in the choices you make and the person you aspire to become.”

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