July 2019 Bar Bulletin
By Carolyn Ladd
“Character is not static. People can change.”
— Shon Hopwood1
At his State of the Union address on February 5, President Donald Trump had an unlikely guest of honor in attendance — Matthew Charles. Charles, sentenced to 35 years in prison for drug-related offenses, was the first person released under the new federal First Step Act.2 The First Step Act’s sentencing and prison reforms had bipartisan support, and one of the most influential voices was Jared Kushner whose father served time in federal prison.3
Although he was celebrated by Trump, when Matthew Charles returned home to Nashville, Tennessee, he faced...