Jarrett Adams is a criminal defence attorney who has committed his career to helping individuals who have been denied justice. But it was trying to prove his own innocence after being unfairly imprisoned for nearly a decade that he had his first and most significant encounter with the law.
Adams, who was born and released on Chicago’s south side, graduated from high school in 1998 at the age of 17. Adams went to a party at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with two buddies one night that summer. That night would have a profound impact on his life.
Adams discovered a business card from a police officer jammed in his front door three weeks after the party. Adams and his two companions had been accused of rape. Adams and his buddies were arrested and charged with sexual assault despite a witness statement that contradicted the accuser’s allegation.
Adams was accused of rape after an innocent make-out session. Adams was sentenced to 28 years in prison after an essential declaration from an eyewitness was withheld from the trial.
Adams worked to familiarise himself with the judicial system, educate himself on the law, and send hundreds of letters pleading his case to authorities, attorneys, and the Wisconsin Innocence Project during his time in prison — nearly 10 years including time before his trial and before his release — which helped him finally be exonerated late in 2006.
Adams went on to graduate from college, attend law school, and pass the bar exam. He worked with the New York Innocence Project as an attorney. In 2017, he established his own firm, which now has locations in three cities and represents clients in federal and state courts around the country. He’s also the founder of Life After Justice, a non-profit that helps exonerees.