UTAH

Utah man overcomes prison past, graduates from BYU law school

Apr 27, 2018, 7:39 AM | Updated: 7:58 am
Ben Aldana
Photo courtesy of BYU...
Ben Aldana Photo courtesy of BYU

PROVO — A Utah man who spent six years in federal prison on drug charges is graduating from BYU’s law school Friday.

“People can change. They need the opportunity to change,” Ben Aldana told KSL Newsradio.

Aldana was sentenced in 2004. He says he was talking to a counselor about what he wanted to do after his sentence, and he mentioned he wanted to help other people, and he felt like he should go to law school.

The reactions he got were discouraging at first.

“It’s hard, and I had to have a lot of help from a lot of people, but other people’s willingness to share similar stories gave me the confidence that I could do this,” he said.

Aldana says Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School gave him a chance when other schools would not.

“I am very grateful that BYU gave me the opportunity,” he said, “because there were a lot of law schools that I’m guessing just rejected my application when they got to the criminal record.”

Aldana says people who have criminal records are often discouraged from seeking opportunities, and others often hesitate to offer those opportunities.

He spent two summers during law school working as a public defender in New York.

“I made a lot of changes, and I worked hard. I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of people, and I want to go to work as a public defender,” Aldana said.

And he has a job ready at the Utah Public Defender Office if he passes the Utah State Bar exam.

“That job possibility wouldn’t have happened if I had not come to law school at BYU,” Aldana said.

After graduation from BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, Ben Aldana, left, will work as a public defender for  Utah County with two of his classmates, Mary Mottaghian and Bryson King, right. Photo courtesy of BYU.

In the video below provided by BYU, Aldana discusses an experience he had with Judge Benson.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

Photo: Utah Department of Transportation...
Mark Jones

UDOT seeks public feedback on future of Bangerter Highway

UDOT is hosting scoping open houses on Tuesday and Wednesday at Granger High School to get feedback on the future of Bangerter Highway between 4100 South and California Avenue.
21 hours ago
A voter drops a ballot into a box at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Mo...
Becky Bruce

The Utah primary election is expected to be ‘pretty normal’

Tuesday's primary election in Utah is expected to be about average for a midterm election.
21 hours ago
A voter fills in the ballot on the voting machine during the Election Day voting at Vivint Smart Ho...
Lindsay Aerts

State elections leaders dismiss state lawmakers claims of vote switching

WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — The State Elections Office says all of the state’s voting machines are working correctly ahead of Primary Election Day Tuesday. This comes after Blanding Representative Phil Lyman made claims on social media, that some of the machines were changing people’s votes. Screenshot of Phil Lyman’s social media post. Lyman posted on […]
21 hours ago
Over 200 behives broke on I-80 as the semi-truck transporting them rolled. Photo credit: Park City ...
Devin Oldroyd

Semi-truck transporting over 200 beehives rolls over on I-80

Over 200 behives broke on I-80 as the semi-truck transporting them rolled.
21 hours ago
File photo...
Simone Seikaly

Salt Lake City Police cancel Amber alert for 11-year-old girl

The abduction reportedly happened in Salt Lake City at 456 North and 1100 West. By early afternoon on Monday, the victim was found in Tooele.
21 hours ago
Protesters hold signs and chant at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 24, 2022, as ...
Simone Seikaly

Temporary stay issued for Utah’s trigger law

In the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Utah names multiple defendants and says Utah's abortion trigger law violates the state constitution.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Utah man overcomes prison past, graduates from BYU law school