Honorable Judge Shadid.
Federal District Court Judge
Eastern District of Michigan
Regarding: United States of America—v—Adreen Canterberry
Dear Judge Shadid:
I write this letter with utmost remorse. I humbly request that you consider my story and the circumstances of my life as alleged herein. In this letter, I will provide my background. I will also explain the circumstances that led to the offense for which I stand convicted. Your Honor, please put my life story into consideration as you decide the appropriate decision for my case.
Your Honor, please note, the object of this letter is by no means an excuse for my misconduct. It is also not an argument against any facts of the case. Instead, Your Honor, this letter seeks to paint a clear and objective picture of me as a person. I acknowledge herein my mistakes and also bring out my circumstances to your attention.
I was born and raised in a home that highly upheld morals and standards. My parents married before I was born. My father worked for the U.S. Army, with over 20 years of honorable service. On the other hand, my mother is a retired social worker. My parents believed in a strong sense of duty and selfless service. Together, they instilled these great values in me.
I was born with a blood deficiency called Sickle Cell Trait, which makes me highly susceptible to the coronavirus when I am near other people. Therefore, I am afraid that I would easily contract the virus if you give me a custodial sentence.
Your Honor, my childhood, was very shy with a verbally abrasive father who scorned my brothers and me for minor mistakes. Because of his military career, he was often not present, leaving my brothers and me to fend for ourselves most often. My older brother took on the role of my father in some respects. Later on, my parents’ marriage had difficulties; they decided to take a break. It follows; my father was absent from our lives, leaving my brothers I without a father figure present. Frequently, I watched my mother struggle, go to college full time, work a full-time job, and get home late to help us with homework after bedtime. We had canned food for dinner most days since my mother would be too tired to prepare a meal. Besides, the neighborhood where I grew up was somewhat dangerous. Many bad individuals and gangs surrounded it. I ignored it all and kept to myself to avoid conflict as best as I could. Thankfully, I never got into trouble. I also played basketball and played in the school orchestra from 5th grade to 11th grade. My instrument of mastery was the viola that I still play to this day. I enjoy it a lot. I never abused drugs or alcohol as a child, even though it was everywhere on campus and off-campus.
In my teenage years, I denied myself most of the fun associated with youthhood and worked hard helping my father establish his business.
Your Honor, I volunteered and completed a rigorous five-and-a-half-month military school program at the age of 18. The marathon comprised of marine and army “Cadres “which were more like drill sergeants at the time. The program was called Tarheel Challenge academy in Salem. It happened in North Carolina in 1998 where I studied and got my high school diploma from Sampson Community College in Clinton, NC, finishing November 20, 1998. One of my reasons for doing so was to steer clear of troubles and legal troubles that were around me constantly at that time. I wanted to make my mother proud and stay out of trouble as she had always been sickly and in and out of the hospital with the deadly condition of Sickle Cell Anemia. Notably, I remember her being very sick often since I was a little boy. She was often crying in agonizing pain. I really wanted to help her.
I studied dentistry and became a dental technician in the civilian sector. It is also worth noting that I followed my father into entrepreneurship and established my own company. I still do dental technician work as a volunteer. Also, due to my passion for helping others, I enrolled in law classes at Mercy University.
Around 2014, I worked as a film production consultant and producer. During that time, I taught myself a second language to offer more help to people and volunteer in various avenues.
Your Honor, right now, I am gainfully employed as the CEO of Young Black Millionaires Inc., a profit corporation that offers business-to-business services. One of the company’s services is to provide education and training to small business owners to help them grow. For example, during the Covid pandemic, I involved myself in distributing PPE equipment, including face masks, surgical gloves, and hospital gowns. I did that because I derive much pleasure and warmth in helping the society, especially in challenging times.
I attend a local church religiously every Sunday at Trinity Baptist Church in crystal lake, Illinois.
Besides, I am non-violent and have no history of violence, drug use, or alcohol abuse.
Since I have been out on Pretrial release, I have kept to my employment and continued education by undergoing a rigorous Real estate Broker’s Program, taking the Illinois state board examination, and passing it my first attempt.
I also volunteer with the little league ball team near my hometown in Georgia, where my daughter lives, by providing help via phone calls and emails. In addition, I have been putting aside money from my current job to pay restitution and child support, which caught up with me since I got behind while serving three months in jail.
I am a father of three, my sons Adrian and Jadrian, aged 21 and 16 respectively, and my daughter Tailyn, eight years old. I have always provided and supported my children since they were born. However, I am afraid for their welfare if you give me a custodial sentence. My son Adrian has a career working as a union carpenter/electrician and will serve the country in the U.S. military. Jadrian, on the other hand, is enrolled in advanced placement studies in grade school, where he reads and studies hard.
The love for my children is unconditional. I have worked very hard to ensure my children have a quality life. Jadrian wants to live with me because he believes I have much to teach him and that he needs his dad around his life to teach him things his mother cannot. I do not want to leave him to fend for himself as my father once did to me.
I have plenty of relatives that reside in Illinois. Notably, one of my cousins works in prison as a security officer. Other close relatives are reputable members of the community. For example, my older brother served in the U.S. Army and retired as a Major after 23 years of service.
In conclusion, Your Honor, I am deeply concerned that I committed the offense. Besides, the conviction has already stained my reputation, branding me as a convict. In retrospection, I acknowledge that I have failed my children, family, and society at large. There is no excuse for my conduct. Had I chance to rewind time, I would have done things differently.
As you deliberate on my appropriate sentence, your Honor, I humbly request you to consider m life as a whole. I am now a God-fearing, family man with a keen interest in helping others and volunteering for the community. Therefore, I request a non-custodial sentence so that I may continue with my work and my studies. I also pray that in the non-custodial sentence, you allow me to leave home for work and school when necessary and to accompany my children to school functions.
On behalf of my family, I ask you for leniency in sentencing.
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