Every lawyer has that one case that alters their career and makes their practice meaningful. Mine happened a mere seven (7) months into being a lawyer.
While I was working as an assistant public defender, I was assigned to the juvenile division. I was appointed he case of Alyssa Beck, a young, girl whose mom, an accountant came to court every time with concern streaking across her face. Alyssa was opposite from my other juvenile clients in almost every way. I didn’t know her story, but she stood out in the sea of mostly teenage boys among my juvenile clients.
I became too invested in her case, which is why when she was re-arrested on very, very serious charges that would lead to the 16-year-old being certified as an adult, I was mad. I didn’t understand my own frustration at that time, but I believe that God helped me see past an angry, scared prickly teenager to see the beautiful young woman underneath the hair dye and tattoos.
Not long after that serious arrest, I got a call from the FBI. They wanted to speak to Alyssa, and that is how I learned about her story. She was a vicitm of human trafficking. Despite the opinion of the various agency providers who considered her to be a “promiscuous problem child,” I got the opportunity to learn about Alyssa’s strengths and weaknesses directly from her. This child was totally broken. She needed help. I could help.
Very, very long story short- I got to help Alyssa, but she fought to remove herself from every bad circumstance, and she is constantly growing and bettering herself. Despite her very serious charges, the Judge considered the overwhelming mitigation in her case, and she was not convicted of any charges and remained free, but under supervision.
Years after I first met her, a producer from CBS, Tami and I had breakfast at Maple Street to talk about Alyssa. I don’t remember how Tami and I connected, but over biscuits and gravy, I shared my thoughts on Alyssa and her case. Three years later, on Saturday, 48 Hours viewers are going to learn all about Alyssa and they will learn that she is a survivor.
I am so proud of who she has become. I only want to see her succeed, and I am still working to see it happen. My hope for her is that her dreams of college and publishing become her reality. I know she would love to meet Ellen one day too!
Today, Alyssa is not a victim, she is a survivor. She has very much found a voice despite all of the horrific experiences that she has endured. So, a big part of her success is providing a platform for her to advocate and share her story. She has big dreams and I know she will do it all…and for her sake, I am so, so happy that 48 Hours picked up and ran with her story. And no matter who you are, or where you come from this story will shake you to your core. Watch it.
XOXO, Mrs. Make It Rainka