MADISON, Wis. — Jarrett Adams was 17 years old in September 1998 when he made a decision he would regret for the rest of his life.
He and two friends decided to road trip from Illinois to Wisconsin for a night of partying. The outing ended with a student accusing all three of them of raping her. Adams was sentenced to nearly three decades in prison.
Others in Adams’ situation might have withered away in despair or been consumed by rage, but Adams kept fighting. With the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, he eventually walked free.
Adams, now 36, is one of nearly 200 people the Innocence Project has freed since it was founded in 1992 — and one of only three exonerees who have become lawyers.
He made his first appearance in a Wisconsin courtroom as a litigator on Tuesday, arguing that a man locked up since 1990 for sexual assault deserves a new trial. The symmetry isn’t lost on Adams.