Man exonerated of crime argues first case as Wisconsin Innocence Project lawyer

A Wisconsin lawyer is about to argue his first case in court for a man who he believes was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault. And the lawyer knows all too well what it feels like to be accused of doing something you’ve never done.

Jarrett Adams is making his first court appearance in a Wisconsin courtroom Tuesday.

It’s an extra special first hearing because Adams himself was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted at age 17 of rape.

While serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, Adams studied law, and now he works for the Wisconsin Innocence Project with hopes to make sure what happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“It took 10 years to appeal this case and get justice,” Adams said. “It didn’t have to take that long. I am hopefully an example of what we are banishing and throwing away from society.”

Adams will represent Richard Beranek, who’s seeking post-conviction relief from a sexual assault conviction after new DNA testing proves hair found at the scene of the crime did not belong to Beranek.

“As I sit here today and I’m an attorney after going through so much seems like an amazing, remarkable feat,” Adams said. “I think more amazing is we have a court system that believes more in finality than it does in justice.”

Adams’ first hearing is at 8:30 a.m. in Dane County Circuit Court.