Brian said his life was a happy one.
He wrote: "None of this would have been possible if not for that brief moment when my fate was in your hands and you decided that I was worth taking a chance on. "Since that day I have vowed to never let you down. . .
"I just wanted you to know that I did all I could do to make your decision the right decision.
"[This year] I will be honored here . . . for my professional achievements with my current company, as well as my personal commitment to community service with young adults."
He attached a picture of his family.
It is one of the great ironies of my tenure as prosecutor that perhaps my finest prosecution decision was to dismiss a federal indictment. Brian still got punished, but he received a second chance that a mandatory prison sentence would not have allowed.
My decision turned a would-be long-term federal prisoner into a productive citizen and positive role model for his children and community.
Recently, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced a bipartisan bill, the Justice Safety Valve Act, that would enable judges to depart from the statutory minimum in those instances where the punishment just doesn't fit the crime.
It is intended to give federal prosecutors the discretion they need when confronted with a case like Brian's.
As a former federal prosecutor who knows that there are exceptions to every rule, I urge Sens. Rockefeller and Manchin to join in supporting this vital legislation.
Betts served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia from 1994 to 2001. She is currently an attorney in private practice in Charleston.