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Reported by Krystle Crossman
Desmond Meade started his adult life as a soldier. After he was dismissed from the U.S. Army, a string of unfortunate events happened and his life took a dramatic turn. His mother passed away. He had been convicted of a felony, and then was later convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He spent fifteen years in prison. His family’s home had also foreclosed. Things seemed hopeless for Meade. Homeless and alone on the streets of Miami, Meade decided to try and end his life.
Fortunately, his attempt was not successful and gave him a clearer path for his life. He entered the drug rehab program with the Chapman Partnership. After being sober, he began to see that life was worth living. He even enrolled in Miami-Dade Community College, where he received his degree in paralegal studies in 2010, where he graduated summa cum laude. It was an amazing turnaround. After he graduated, he decided to enroll in Florida International University’s law school, where he received a law degree.
After graduating Meade, took a job as the director of a campaign that is run by PICO United Florida. It is called the Lifelines to Healing Campaign. The program’s goal is to stop violence in communities and to end mass incarceration. Unfortunately for Meade’s felony record, he is not able to practice law even though he has a degree. Florida law says convicted felons aren’t allowed to take the Bar exam; they are not allowed to practice in any type of law field; and they are not able to vote or run for a political office.
Meade could move to a different state where they do not have a law against prior felony convictions, but instead, he wants to stay in Florida with his wife and five step-children and fight the law. He wants to try and have it removed so that he can practice in his home state.