A very nice story from the Sacramento Bee, my hometown paper.
For years now, people have told Cornell Battle that he should meet with the judge who gave him his second felony strike – and delivered a stern but ultimately transformative admonishment.
Last week, Battle got that chance. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gary Ransom shook Battle’s hand, and then they walked side by side down a hallway to chat in a room near Ransom’s court. A new business owner, Battle handed the judge a thank-you card with the Serenity Prayer on its cover.
There was no evidence of the self-described scandalous thief and drug addict who was sentenced by Ransom i1997, but Battle leaves no doubt about what he used to be like.
“As far as lying, cheating or stealing, nothing was off-limits,” Battle said. “I was breaking into people’s homes and apartments, and the judge told me, ‘You are a menace and a danger to society, and I need to put you away for a while.’”
Battle said he had been in Ransom’s courtroom eight or nine times on various charges in the years leading up to his second strike. He was confined twice in court-ordered drug rehabilitation programs for eight or nine months, he said, but he’d get out and look for ways to score drugs again.
While Ransom condemned his crime, Battle said, he also held out hope.
“He told me something to the effect that I needed to find out what I needed to do to stay out of his courtroom and, most importantly, what I needed to do for myself to get sober,” Battle said. “Then it just clicked for me. Every time I had come before him, it was because of my drug and alcohol addiction, and he knew it was fixable. He knew it was fixable.”
That was the day Battle decided he was going to find meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous as soon as he got to prison.
Retrieved October 28, 2014 from http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/cathie-anderson/article3411174.html