‘Stay clean’: Judge tells classmate after emotional reunion

Houston: A friend in need is a friend indeed!

This old saying has come true in the case of two middle school friends in the US — a woman judge and a man who served nearly 10 months in a Miami jail for burglary.

When Miami-Dade County Judge Mindy Glazer and her school friend Arthur Booth met decades later in June last year, they were on opposite sides of a courtroom in Miami, Florida.

Glazer was presiding over a bond hearing for 49-year-old Arthur Booth after he was arrested for burglary.

When he stood before her, the judge and defendant realised they were once classmates in middle school.

“Mr. Booth, I have a question for you,” said Glazer.

“Yes ma’am,” answered Booth.

“Did you go to Nautilus for middle school?” she asked.

“Oh my goodness,” answered Booth as he broke down in tears. Video of the heartrending ‘reunion’ also went viral.

During the court hearing, Glazer had said that “he was the nicest kid in middle school” and lamented the choices that led him to her courtroom.

“I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened,” Glazer said, “I’m so sorry to see this.”

The two met again under much different circumstances this week, as Booth was released from a jail on a special court programme after serving nearly 10 months behind bars.

Judge Glazer was waiting for Booth as he left jail and greeted him with a hug, but also stern words.

“You’re going to take care of your family, get a job, and stay clean,” Glazer told Booth. “You’re going to do something good for someone else.”

“This is a group effort to see you succeed. Don’t let us down,” she was quoted as saying by NBC Miami.

Booth said he wants to make his former classmate and his family proud.

“She’s an inspiration and motivation to me right now, just seeing Mindy is incredible,” Booth said.

“Because I know where I could’ve been, but I’m not giving up on life, it’s just a new leaf on life for me right now,” Booth said.

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