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He was wrongfully imprisoned for 8 years, now he's a defense lawyer

September 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Jarrett Adams is a criminal defense lawyer who has dedicated his career to bringing justice to those who are underserved. But his first and most profound experience with the law came with trying to prove his own innocence after being wrongfully imprisoned for nearly a decade.

Despite a witness statement that contradicted the accuser's story, Adams and his friends were arrested and charged with sexual assault.

While one of Adams' friends was able to afford to hire an attorney, Adams and the third co-defendant were both assigned public defenders.

While Adams' friend's private attorney filed for a dismissal based on the grounds of double jeopardy, arguing that the court could not try him for the same crime twice, the two public defenders did not.

"They completely committed to a strategy that was illogical, and it resulted in me being found guilty and me being sentenced to serve 28 years in a maximum-security prison. " Adams says.

Adams' co-defendant with the private attorney never spent a day in prison.

Adams and his co-defendant with the public defender were both sentenced to 20 years in prison.

One day, after being in prison for a year and a half, Adams had a conversation that changed his entire approach.

Innocent people, they're in the law library,'" Adams recalls.

Adams put all his energy into trying to prove his own innocence.

"Everyone has a constitutional right to an effective attorney," Adams says.

In 2004, the Innocence Project agreed to take on Adams' case.

Based on the testimony of the accuser, we don't understand how on Earth you are in here with 28 years,'" Adams remembers.

While Adams was exonerated, one of his co-defendants never had his charges dropped, while another was never convicted at all, even though all three men were all accused of the same crime, by the same accuser.

"I strongly believe that the problems with our criminal justice system will only get better when we infiltrate the system, meaning more Black judges, more Black prosecutors, more Black, young Black attorneys, like young Black knowledgeable, powerful young men changing the stereotype that we've had to deal with forever," Adams says.

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