Exonerated Man Earns Law Degree

This is an amazing story. A Wisconsin man named Jarrett Adams who spent ten years in prison for a rape he did not commit has now earned his law degree and earned a fellowship with a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge. That’s the same circuit that reversed his conviction.

His days behind bars were filled with basketball and chess, until one day his cell mate challenged him to fight his case.

“He was like, ‘Sit down. I’m in here for the rest of my life for something I did do. You are here for some absolute bull crap with no evidence, and you’re not going to fight to get out,’ ” Adams told CBS 2 Chicago. “And so it really woke me up.”

With the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, Adams fought the case, and in 2006, after he’d spent 10 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, an appeals court threw out his conviction.

Since then Adams has been working hard to make up for lost time, and last week he received his law degree from Loyola.

“I couldn’t have imagined this day,” Adams told the news station.

But Adams isn’t stopping there. In August he will serve as a public-interest fellow to U.S. Circuit Judge Ann C. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit—the same court that reversed his wrongful conviction.

Because the position is not paid, Adams has set up a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising enough funds to pay for his expenses and health insurance during the fellowship.

That’s so awesome. I have a feeling this man is going to do great things, hopefully helping free others who’ve been wrongly convicted.


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  • whheydt

    While not as egregious as a false conviction, there was recent news about a 102-yer-old who was denied a chance to defend her doctoral dissertation because she had some Jewish ancestors (this was in Nazi controlled Germany…obviously). She recently got the chance to–successfully–do the oral defense and now has her doctorate. This after a full career as a neonatologist.