Derek Twyman is a Canadian citizen who just arrived back in Toronto since being freed from an unthinkable 160 year sentence in North Carolina. He spent 30 years of that sentence in a state prison after falling in with the wrong crowd as a youth when his family moved from Ontario to the United States. The crime that garnered such a sentence? Non-violent burglaries.
CBC has reported extensively on the story, and on how Derek is rebuilding his life. Lawyers such as myself, Mark Knox of Halifax, and James B. Craven III of North Carolina, as well as retired Newfoundland provincial court judge Robert T. Smith, all pitched in over the years in efforts to help free Derek from North Carolina. Now that he's back in Canada he has a new lease on life, with great folks from Pro Bono Dalhousie and the John Howard Society helping him get resettled.
Derek is currently starting from the bottom, but he has the ambition, persistence, and dreams to achieve great things. As he finds housing and work to sustain himself, he is trying to raise funds to study law and become a paralegal so that he can help others who are in need. Tuition at different colleges varies, but looking at George Brown College (fee by course) and Seneca College (flat fee) as examples, the average would be approximately $5,000. Based on available information, books and supplies would be an additional $1,400 (depending on the school).
Derek will be enrolling in his studies at the next available resgitration once he's raised the necessary funds. Depending on the school and the progress of this campaign, that could start as early as January 2018, or in the spring or summer sessions. He has all the qualities needed to succeed as a paralegal - he's a great communicator, with a sharp mind, and an optimistic worldview where he has compassion for others. The only thing he's short on is funding.
On behalf of Derek and all of those who have stood by him, we sincerely thank you for any support you can offer!
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