BUFFALO, N.Y. - Attorney TheArthur Duncan remembers the day he stood before a Federal Judge for sentencing. On Wednesday, he was before the same Judge, but this time the Hon. William Skretny admitted him to practice in Federal court.
Duncan spent 39 months in Allenwood Federal Prison Camp on a drug charges. Standing before the same Judge had him holding back tears.
"I just reflected back to when I stood in front of him like about 17 years ago and he sentenced me to 46-months. Now I'm back in front of him and he's admitting me to practice law in federal court," he said. His sponsoring attorney was the defense attorney who defended him in his case nearly two decades ago, Anthony Lana.
Now the author of Felon-Attorney who had to fight off the crips and bloods gangs while being raised between Los Angeles and Buffalo is doing the right thing and is appreciative of second chances. "If someone will allow you that second chance, you have to make the steps," he said.
In a 2016 interview with WGRZ-TV's Claudine Ewing, Duncan said his arrest saved his life, "a lot of people thought I was wasting my time, saying, I never seen nobody, an ex-drug dealer become a lawyer."
Judge Skretny, United States District Judge for the Western District of New York, said Duncan's story is inspirational. "To go from a convicted felon to a practicing attorney in any area, any state, any city, any jurisdiction is remarkable. It's a great tribute to the legal profession, and it's a great tribute to our great country that he's able to practice law, not only in WNY, but in Federal court."
Duncan is humbled by the second chance in life, "people will give you an opportunity, if you show and prove that you have changed your life."