Jarrett Adams has not let his wrongful conviction stop him from being successful. Despite insisting that sex he and two others had with a woman in a college dormitory was consensual, he was sentenced to 28 years in prison for rape when he was 17 years old. After spending almost eight years behind bars, Adams was exonerated in January 2007 after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that he had received ineffective counsel because his trial attorney neglected to call a witness who had seen the woman smoking cigarettes with the three men in a dorm common area after the encounter. Following his release, unlike many individuals who struggle to readjust to life outside of prison, Adams did just the opposite by joining the other side of the criminal justice system.
After the Wisconsin Innocence Project helped exonerate him, Adams attended Loyola University Law School. Following his graduation last year, he worked for 7th Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams and U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts of the Southern District of New York in a dual clerkship. Now, Adams is formally joining the innocence movement that helped set him free by working for the organization that many would argue initiated the fight for justice for the wrongfully convicted.
Adams’ wife accepted a job in New York City, and after passing the New York Bar exam in February, he too found a job in the Big Apple where he will now serve as a post-conviction litigation fellow for the Innocence Project. Law practice is something he has been passionate about for some time, as Adams said that he was moved from a Wisconsin maximum-security prison to a supermax facility with fewer privileges because he was considered a security threat since he had become such an effective jailhouse lawyer by helping other inmates while he was in prison.
Adams credited his success to his faith and hard work, and hopes that he will be an example for others facing obstacles.