Jarrett Adams, the 2012 CBF Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Scholarship recipient, has an acute appreciation of the critical role public interest attorneys play in ensuring access to justice. When he was 17 years old, Jarrett was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 28 years in a maximum security prison. After serving nearly ten years of his sentence and filing multiple appeals, Jarrett was exonerated with the assistance of the Wisconsin Innocence Project at the University of Wisconsin Law School. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately vacated his conviction and, upon remand, the State of Wisconsin dismissed all charges.
Jarrett used the injustice he endured as fuel to achieve his goal of attending law school. Upon his release, Jarrett paid his way through junior college and then enrolled in Roosevelt University, where he graduated with highest honors. While in school, Jarrett began working full-time as an investigator with the Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois, where he continues to assist in the representation of indigent defendants facing felony charges. In recommending Jarrett for this Scholarship, Carol Brook, Executive Director of the Federal Defender Program, observed: “You would think that someone who has been wrongfully imprisoned would be angry and bitter. Jarrett is not. He has taken those emotions and poured them into a desire to make sure other people never find themselves in his position. His passion for and commitment to public service shine though everything he does.”
Jarrett plans to dedicate his legal career to advocating for indigent defendants and working to prevent wrongful convictions. “Although my story and goal of becoming an attorney will not in itself reform the justice system or put an end to wrongful convictions, the CBF Marovitz Public Interest Law Scholarship will greatly assist me in obtaining a law degree at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. This degree will better prepare me to adequately and competently represent those who need it most, just as the Wisconsin Innocence Project fought for my life.” Jarrett will attend Loyola as a part-time law student this fall while continuing to work at the Federal Defender Program.