This Man Served 10 Years in Prison, Now He’s A Defense Lawyer

This Man Served 10 Years in Prison, Now He’s A Defense Lawyer


– I’m the first exoneree to be exonerated by an Innocence Project, and
then go on to be a lawyer for an Innocence Project. The best thing to do with your anger is to use it as the fuel that drives you to reach goals in life. My name is Jarrett Adams,
and this is my story. At the age of 17, I was
sentenced to 28 years in a maximum security prison. I was falsely accused of a
sexual assault I didn’t commit. And I realized very quickly early on, it had nothin’ to do with
the truth, it was about race. If you can’t afford to
prove your innocence, the court affords an attorney to you. My lawyer convinced my family and I that a no-defense theory was
the best theory of defense. It was a horrible idea, and
that defense contributed to me bein’ found guilty. (clock ticking)
(daunting music) I was incarcerated in prison. So I was there for almost a decade. One day is too long when you’re innocent. I was a kid. I was absolutely terrified. My entire youth was gone. This is when boys become men. I missed out on all of that. I was, at a time, broken,
but when I continued to see that my mother and my aunts weren’t broken and they were fightin’ for my innocence, I decided that if I didn’t have the energy to fight for myself, I most certainly could find the energy to fight for them. I started to try to grasp the law. I would get law books, law journals, and read about attorneys
who were litigating cases in the State of Wisconsin. So I reached out to the Innocence Project, the organization that
advocates and litigates on behalf of the wrongfully convicted. Ultimately they accepted my case. The court unanimously decided
to overturn my conviction. I ended up enrolling
in a four-year college where I studied criminal justice. After graduating, I obtained my law degree, and I became an attorney. I had the opportunity to
exonerate another person and it was special to me,
because it was in the same state in which I was wrongfully convicted. I have now opened my own law practice. And I think that me comin’ from a place like the criminal justice
system, being wronged, carryin’ the stories and
gettin’ to know other men who have been wronged,
what better advocate could they have, but myself? I strongly feel like this
happened to me for a reason. It was necessary to encourage
the greatness outta me. (bell chimes)

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