crimesider

Wrongfully convicted man to graduate from law school

Jarrett Adams

CBS Chicago

CHICAGO - A man who went to prison as a teenager for a crime he didn't commit is set to graduate from law school, reports CBS Chicago.

Thirty-four-year-old Jarrett Adams says he could never have imagined such a day while he was confined to a prison cell.

Adams was convicted of rape in Wisconsin at the age of 17. He always insisted he was innocent and that key witnesses who could have cleared him weren't called to testify at his trial.

While behind bars, he studied law in an effort to get out of his predicament, according to CBS Chicago.

"I knew my case at that point like the back of my hand," Adams told the station. "I could recite it in my sleep."

With help from the Wisconsin Innocence Project, Adams was exonerated after spending 10 years behind bars.

A month after his release, he began taking courses at a community college and later graduated with honors from Roosevelt University in Chicago. On Saturday, the station says, he will receive his law degree from Loyola University Chicago.

"He did not allow his past to define him," said Josie Gough, director of experiential learning at Loyola. "I could not be prouder of Jarrett if he were my own son."

Adams tells CBS Chicago that after graduating from law school, he plans to take part in a public interest fellowship working for Federal Judge Ann Williams. Eventually, he says he wants to represent low-income defendants in an effort to prevent wrongful convictions.