Jarrett Adams: EXONERATED

I recently had the opportunity to meet and interview one of the most extraordinary people I have met in a very long time. I have heard hundreds of stories of men who had been wrongly accused, convicted and sentenced for crimes that they vehemently denied committing. Jarrett Adams is one of a precious few to successfully prove that he was unjustly punished and eventually released.

Back on September 5, 1998, he and some friends drove a couple of hours away from the Chicago area to a party on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. A female student later reported that she had been sexually assaulted and identified Jarrett and his friends as the culprits. He was 17 years old at the time and was sentenced to a 28-year prison sentence. From the onset, he denied having committed the rape.

After almost 10 years in prison, and with the assistance of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, Jarrett was finally released. For many this would be a soul-crushing experience that would fill one with lots of bitterness and anger. If Jarrett harbors such feelings, it is barely detectable.

While there is no pending suit against the State of Wisconsin for his wrongful conviction and incarceration, he says “I am fighting with the state to change compensation laws to compensate me” and “was never given a dime or any services by the state despite having all charges against me dismissed.”

Jarrett channeled his energy into completing college and last year graduated from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago. He just finished a Judicial Fellowship with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that overturned his conviction. Now living in New York City, he starts work as an attorney for the New York Innocence Project next week.

In February Jarrett got married to an attorney with a multinational media organization.