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Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System

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He was seventeen when an all-white jury sentenced him to prison for a crime he didn't commit. Now, in this unforgettable memoir, a pioneering lawyer recalls the journey that led to his exoneration--and inspired him to devote his life to fighting the many injustices in our legal system. Seventeen years old and facing nearly thirty years behind bars, Jarrett Adams sought to f He was seventeen when an all-white jury sentenced him to prison for a crime he didn't commit. Now, in this unforgettable memoir, a pioneering lawyer recalls the journey that led to his exoneration--and inspired him to devote his life to fighting the many injustices in our legal system. Seventeen years old and facing nearly thirty years behind bars, Jarrett Adams sought to figure out the why behind his fate. Sustained by his mother and aunts who brought him back from the edge of despair through letters of prayer and encouragement, Adams became obsessed with our legal system in all its damaged glory. After studying how his constitutional rights to effective counsel had been violated, he solicited the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongfully convicted, and won his release after nearly ten years in prison. But the journey was far from over. Adams took the lessons he learned through his incarceration and worked his way through law school with the goal of helping those who, like himself, had faced our legal system at its worst. After earning his law degree, he worked with the New York Innocence Project, becoming the first exoneree ever hired by the nonprofit as a lawyer. In his first case with the Innocence Project, he argued before the same court that had convicted him a decade earlier--and won. In this cinematic story of hope and full-circle redemption, Adams draws on his life and the cases of his clients to show the racist tactics used to convict young men of color, the unique challenges facing exonerees once released, and how the lack of equal representation in our courts is a failure not only of empathy but of our collective ability to uncover the truth. Justice for Sale is an unforgettable firsthand account of the limits--and possibilities--of our country's system of law.


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He was seventeen when an all-white jury sentenced him to prison for a crime he didn't commit. Now, in this unforgettable memoir, a pioneering lawyer recalls the journey that led to his exoneration--and inspired him to devote his life to fighting the many injustices in our legal system. Seventeen years old and facing nearly thirty years behind bars, Jarrett Adams sought to f He was seventeen when an all-white jury sentenced him to prison for a crime he didn't commit. Now, in this unforgettable memoir, a pioneering lawyer recalls the journey that led to his exoneration--and inspired him to devote his life to fighting the many injustices in our legal system. Seventeen years old and facing nearly thirty years behind bars, Jarrett Adams sought to figure out the why behind his fate. Sustained by his mother and aunts who brought him back from the edge of despair through letters of prayer and encouragement, Adams became obsessed with our legal system in all its damaged glory. After studying how his constitutional rights to effective counsel had been violated, he solicited the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongfully convicted, and won his release after nearly ten years in prison. But the journey was far from over. Adams took the lessons he learned through his incarceration and worked his way through law school with the goal of helping those who, like himself, had faced our legal system at its worst. After earning his law degree, he worked with the New York Innocence Project, becoming the first exoneree ever hired by the nonprofit as a lawyer. In his first case with the Innocence Project, he argued before the same court that had convicted him a decade earlier--and won. In this cinematic story of hope and full-circle redemption, Adams draws on his life and the cases of his clients to show the racist tactics used to convict young men of color, the unique challenges facing exonerees once released, and how the lack of equal representation in our courts is a failure not only of empathy but of our collective ability to uncover the truth. Justice for Sale is an unforgettable firsthand account of the limits--and possibilities--of our country's system of law.

30 review for Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sherron

    A must-read, highly inspirational memoire of a young black man who, after being failed by the legal system himself, is now working to ensure others do not encounter the same fate he had. Jarrett grew up in a loving family, he had friends, and he was looking forward a wide open future upon leaving high school. When he was seventeen, he went to a party without first getting his mother’s permission. How many times do kids do this but suffer no severe consequences? But it’s not so easy when you’re b A must-read, highly inspirational memoire of a young black man who, after being failed by the legal system himself, is now working to ensure others do not encounter the same fate he had. Jarrett grew up in a loving family, he had friends, and he was looking forward a wide open future upon leaving high school. When he was seventeen, he went to a party without first getting his mother’s permission. How many times do kids do this but suffer no severe consequences? But it’s not so easy when you’re black and in the “wrong place.” He ended up in prison for ten years for a crime that he did not commit. If I had just written a list of all the unfairness he endured as an outcome, this review would sound like “friend of the family” five star exaggeration. But he tells his story in straightforward, forthright manner and unadorned by heroic puffery or legal lingo. It’s a fast read, bringing in just enough information to relay a quick, clear picture of his circumstances. I particularly loved reading about his family, and especially his supportive mother and aunts. I want to hug those wonderful women! I even enjoyed reading about his prison friendships. He’s definitely a “people person.” I loved reading about his tenacity, his decision making, and his heart. While in prison, he mailed off hundreds of legal pleas (colloquially speaking) on behalf of himself and other inmates—all the while gradually improving his writing skills. And his skill shows in this book. I highly recommended this book for anyone who is systemically marginalized by the legal system, for anyone interested in learning about flaws in that system, and for anyone wanting an inspirational BLM story of achievement. Using his success story as a basis for role modeling, I could see this book being useful for classroom, family, or book club study—especially in an inner city context. Like he says in the book, no one grows up intuitively knowing what to do in a legal system, and like his mother warns him, it’s best to be prepared. Thank you NetGalley for an ARC of this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    Wow, what an incredible, inspiring story. This book reads like a movie and I imagine it will be made into a movie one day. Jarrett Adams is wrongfully convicted of rape when he is just 17 years old, and sent to prison. He immerses himself in books and the law, eventually writing to attorneys seeking help with his case. After many letters go unanswered, two different lawyers agree to help him with different parts of his case. His reputation as a jail house lawyer helps build his confidence. Once Wow, what an incredible, inspiring story. This book reads like a movie and I imagine it will be made into a movie one day. Jarrett Adams is wrongfully convicted of rape when he is just 17 years old, and sent to prison. He immerses himself in books and the law, eventually writing to attorneys seeking help with his case. After many letters go unanswered, two different lawyers agree to help him with different parts of his case. His reputation as a jail house lawyer helps build his confidence. Once released, he attends college, and then law school, winning prestigious clerk ships and awards along the way. This book made me feel so many different emotions. I found myself slamming my hand down on the table in frustration as I read about the inept advice and lack of advocacy from his original lawyer, sadness at the 10 years he lost, and joy and relief when he was eventually released after all charges were dropped. The story of Jarrett Adams is incredibly inspiring. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ryann

    I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. As an attorney in Chicago, I was familiar with Jarrett’s story when he was a law student a few years ago. I was still unprepared for how compelling I found this book. Wrongfully convicted of sexual assault when he was barely an adult, Jarrett spent 10 years incarcerated before his conviction was overturned. This book tells his story as he leaves prison, goes to law school and eventually argues his first case for the Innocence Project at th I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. As an attorney in Chicago, I was familiar with Jarrett’s story when he was a law student a few years ago. I was still unprepared for how compelling I found this book. Wrongfully convicted of sexual assault when he was barely an adult, Jarrett spent 10 years incarcerated before his conviction was overturned. This book tells his story as he leaves prison, goes to law school and eventually argues his first case for the Innocence Project at the same court where he was convicted years before. His story is equal parts inspiring and infuriating. If you enjoyed Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” and Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy,” you will want to order this book for your collection. I’ll be recommending it to all my friends.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Morgan

    I don't usually read memoirs or a lot of nonfiction but Jarrett's story is powerful and so important. Jarrett takes you on a surreal and painful journey through his experience with the justice system. As a teenager, he is wrongly convicted of a crime and is sentenced to spend 28 years in prison. Without a great lawyer, Jarrett"s options are limited and he begins to research his own case. You realize how much the system is built against the accused. I honestly had limited knowledge of the problem I don't usually read memoirs or a lot of nonfiction but Jarrett's story is powerful and so important. Jarrett takes you on a surreal and painful journey through his experience with the justice system. As a teenager, he is wrongly convicted of a crime and is sentenced to spend 28 years in prison. Without a great lawyer, Jarrett"s options are limited and he begins to research his own case. You realize how much the system is built against the accused. I honestly had limited knowledge of the problems within the criminal justice system with most of my information coming from Netflix docuseries and Kim Kardashian. I knew it was messed up but my mind was blown. You can't help but get angry for how Jarrett was treated and it makes you think about all the other innocent ones who didn't get out like he did. Jarrett's story is incredible and inspiring to the point where it feels like a movie. How can any of this be real? Thanks to NetGalley and Convergent Books for my ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com. Jarrett Adams tells his alternately inspiring and maddening story in Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System. At 17, he attended a college party with two of his buddies. Before the night was out, they had some drinks, smoked some weed, and had consensual sex with a young woman. They are Black and she is white. Shortly after, she accused them of raping her that night. Adams tells t Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com. Jarrett Adams tells his alternately inspiring and maddening story in Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System. At 17, he attended a college party with two of his buddies. Before the night was out, they had some drinks, smoked some weed, and had consensual sex with a young woman. They are Black and she is white. Shortly after, she accused them of raping her that night. Adams tells the story of what came next and how he fought back against a justice system that treats Black men unjustly. As the subtitle says, Adams eventually makes it to the other side of the courtroom. His path from accused teenager to lawyer fighting against injustice is gripping. He breaks down the legalities of his own case as he tells the story. And in real life, that’s how it happened. In the beginning, he was just swept forcibly into the legal system. He had to learn to put his feet back on the ground and fight against the racism drowning him in that wave. Adams spent a decade in prison. He learned to play chess, assess his cellmates, keep his head up, and avoid fights. Most importantly, one cellmate introduced him to the law library and the process of legal recourse. Then Adams takes steps for his own case, as well as helping other incarcerated men. The results are hard-fought. But as Adams makes clear, it should never have been like this. My conclusions Adams frequently refers to the idea of “disposable young Black men.” And this is what’s maddening. The US criminal justice system is not equitable. Defendants who don’t have the money to hire a defense attorney are assigned public defenders instead. While they may be well-intentioned, these folks are overworked and often don’t mount a viable defense for their clients. As a lawyer, Adams seeks to change that, and this book tells the story of both why and how he intends to do so. His strength of character and ability to persist is admirable. He’s also honest about the times his mental health slid into depression and PTSD. And he’s comfortable explaining how he overcame the related tendency to freeze up and stop feeling. In the process of this tale, we meet the family who supported Adams. We meet some of the men incarcerated with him, in various facilities. And Adams also introduces the various folks who gave him a hand up. For example, one lawyer was basically editor and pen pal as Adams was writing a court document for his case. And when he entered community college, a guidance counselor helped him learn to tell his story. These people and more are integral to Adams’s success. But no matter how many people were behind him, it is Adams who makes all the winning moves on the chessboard of his life. Once I started this book I couldn’t put it down. Read it and feel both the outrage and the hope. But also read it to support a man who overcame and is now helping others do the same. Pair with A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom by Brittany K. Barnett, another inspiring memoir about a path to the legal profession. Of course, for the statistics and scholarly perspective on the US criminal justice system, pair with The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness written by Michelle Alexander. Acknowledgments Many thanks to NetGalley, Convergent Books, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review. Expected publication date is September 14, 2021.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shonah Burns

    4.5 At age 17, Jarrett Adams was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. He was then convicted and sentenced to 28 years in prison. After 10 grueling years in maximum security, he was finally exonerated. In this harrowing memoir, Adams takes us through his 20+ year journey from being an innocent teenager on his way to college, through his 10 years in prison as a wrongfully convicted felon, to becoming the lawyer he never had. This book covers right up until early 2020 when Covid first hit, a stark 4.5 At age 17, Jarrett Adams was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. He was then convicted and sentenced to 28 years in prison. After 10 grueling years in maximum security, he was finally exonerated. In this harrowing memoir, Adams takes us through his 20+ year journey from being an innocent teenager on his way to college, through his 10 years in prison as a wrongfully convicted felon, to becoming the lawyer he never had. This book covers right up until early 2020 when Covid first hit, a stark reminder that this is current. This isn't 50 years ago, this isn't history; this is now, this is today. This story is not just an account of Adams' own life, but the ongoing reality for millions of people. He details the innumerable atrocities of the justice system, experienced by everyone in it, but especially by those who are Black. He illustrates what it is like growing up Black in America; to live in fear for your life, to be constantly targeted for the colour of your skin, to be treated by society as though you are dispensable. We're taken right into the center of Black communities that are suffering from centuries of abuse and neglect. We see how these communities are struggling in poverty, how families are being torn apart, how youth are being exposed to crime as a means to survive, and exactly how blatantly racist the "justice" system truly is. Redeeming Justice is one of the most chilling yet inspiring books I have ever read. Jarrett Adams demonstrates an incredible amount of strength, courage, and perseverance. He gives Black youth someone to aspire to. His voice has and will change the world. *My one critique is the way sexual assault was portrayed. Not saying no ≠ consent. Especially if the “victim” was intoxicated. I don’t believe this was the case for Jarrett, but I think it should’ve been acknowledged.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pramod

    REDEEMING JUSTICE BY JARRETT ADAMS Convergent Books. #JusticeforSale,#NetGalley, #Racism,#JarrettAdams,#ConvergentBooks “ When you are a young black man, you don’t give police a reason.” So was the advice of Jarrett Adams mother. In the USA, police see young black men as criminals, instead of young men of promise. Jarrett was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago by strong prideful women, his single mother, grandmother, and aunts, he was taught to be truthful and fair. Like all teenagers, Jarret REDEEMING JUSTICE BY JARRETT ADAMS Convergent Books. #JusticeforSale,#NetGalley, #Racism,#JarrettAdams,#ConvergentBooks “ When you are a young black man, you don’t give police a reason.” So was the advice of Jarrett Adams mother. In the USA, police see young black men as criminals, instead of young men of promise. Jarrett was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago by strong prideful women, his single mother, grandmother, and aunts, he was taught to be truthful and fair. Like all teenagers, Jarrett also liked to party. So in 1998, when he was just 19 years old, with 2 of his friends, he went to a Freshmen Orientation Party at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, which is a 5-hour drive. They met a young woman and had a consensual encounter with her. That night would change the course of his life. All 3 of them were arrested and charged with sexual assault of a white student. Though this was consensual sex, they were prosecuted. In Wisconsin, 17-year-olds are tried as adults. One of his friends was able to afford an attorney, Jarrett and his co-accused were assigned, public defenders. Trial, mistrial and a retrial. During Adams’ retrial, the public defender called for a non-defense theory, which would not allow for any witness statements. This move backfired. Jarrett and his co-accused were convicted of rape in 2000 and sentenced to 20years. The judge found that I wasn't being remorseful and she gave me an additional eight years in prison." Inside the prison, Adams met a cellmate who worked for the prison law library and encouraged him to try to get his conviction overturned. Prove your innocence and not give up. So Adams started reading law books in the prison library. Adams put all his energy into trying to prove his innocence. Through his reading, he discovered that his public defender had failed to locate and call a known witness was a violation of his rights. "Everyone has a constitutional right to an effective attorney. And so, his constitutional right was violated by not having an effective attorney. He found a Supreme Court case that stated that the Constitution required defendants to be provided effective assistance of counsel. He got in touch with attorney Keith Findley with the Wisconsin Innocence Project, a state chapter of the nonprofit devoted to justice for wrongfully convicted people. In 2006, eight years after Adam’s arrest, the Innocence Project argued his case to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. The court unanimously overturned Adams' conviction, on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. Adams’ conviction was overturned and all charges against him were dropped in 2007. Since his release, he graduated and obtained his Law degree from Loyola University School of Law and passed the New York Bar exam. Now as an attorney, Adams is working to bring justice to others. I highly recommend this book as a good read. A story of resilience. Thanks to NetGalley, Convergent Books, and Jarrett Adams for the chance to read the ARC.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    At only 17 years of age, Jarrett Adams was found guilty of a crime that he didn't commit and sentenced to 28 years in prison. At a time when he should have had countless opportunities ahead of him, a false accusation left him alone, fending for himself in a traumatic environment with no prospects for the future. Challenged by a cell mate to keep fighting to prove his innocence, Adams found a refuge in the law library in the prison where he studied legal literature and cases to figure out how to At only 17 years of age, Jarrett Adams was found guilty of a crime that he didn't commit and sentenced to 28 years in prison. At a time when he should have had countless opportunities ahead of him, a false accusation left him alone, fending for himself in a traumatic environment with no prospects for the future. Challenged by a cell mate to keep fighting to prove his innocence, Adams found a refuge in the law library in the prison where he studied legal literature and cases to figure out how to plead his case. His journey to challenge his conviction gave him a new vision for his life--get out of prison and become a lawyer. Adams' story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. It pulls the veil back on our broken justice system as it shows how our system withheld justice from an innocent man not just once, but again and again. Our justice system forced a teenager to essentially teach himself how to be a lawyer to able to rescue himself from prison, and at the same time, he was forced to deal with extra obstacles like not having the financial resources to hire attorneys and being repetitively sent to segregation in maximum strength prisons because of bogus charges by prison personnel. One of my favorite parts of the book was the ending. It was so satisfying that I wanted to cheer out loud as I finished the book. I'm grateful that Adams prevailed and that he has dedicated his life to helping others who are facing sentences that they don't deserve. Overall, this is a beautifully written story, and I highly recommend it. This would be a great read for anyone who enjoyed Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It would also be a compelling read for anyone who wants to know about our justice system and the ways that it is failing people in our country. A big thank you to Jarrett Adams, Convergent Books, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    In the book Redeeming Justice, Jarret Adams retells his unbelievable story of his life from defendant to defender. This normally wouldn’t be the type of book I pick up to read, however once I read the book blub; I felt this was a book I needed to read. I personally have a background in the legal field and this book made me shiver with the way this case was consistently overlooked, brushed over and handled in all of the wrong ways. Adams is a 17 year old boy who just graduated from high school. T In the book Redeeming Justice, Jarret Adams retells his unbelievable story of his life from defendant to defender. This normally wouldn’t be the type of book I pick up to read, however once I read the book blub; I felt this was a book I needed to read. I personally have a background in the legal field and this book made me shiver with the way this case was consistently overlooked, brushed over and handled in all of the wrong ways. Adams is a 17 year old boy who just graduated from high school. The summer between high school and college he decides to go to a party to with some friends. A few months later he is charged with rape. The book then continues to follow Jarret through his court cases and eventual incarceration, based solely on a false accusation. The book then continues to follow Adams through his fight for release, his life and emotions after prison and his triumphant Law School Graduation. As much as this book made me angry and broke my heart in made me rejoice and feel pride for this young man. This ultimately uplifting tale providing hope for the hopeless and power to the powerless. By reading the ARC I feel I lost some of the best bits, I am sure the actual book will provide photos and visual references that were not available in the ARC. But if you have an interest in law on any level this is definitely a book you should read! Adams does an amazing job with putting his story into a written document that will forever life and breathe and serve as the very REAL reminder of how our legal system fails.. but you do not have to become its failure. Thank you netgalley for the ARC.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Celene Seals

    Absolutely amazing!! Five stars doesn't even seem adequate. Page one gave me chills and I was hooked! I devoured this book and read it nearly in one sitting. I just could not get enough. To say I didn't love books along this nature would be a lie. They generally move me, cause despair, outrage and heartbreak. I will have all the emotions. This book was no different. In fact, I'd go as far as to say this book and this man's story was the best and my favorite. I will continue to talk about this ma Absolutely amazing!! Five stars doesn't even seem adequate. Page one gave me chills and I was hooked! I devoured this book and read it nearly in one sitting. I just could not get enough. To say I didn't love books along this nature would be a lie. They generally move me, cause despair, outrage and heartbreak. I will have all the emotions. This book was no different. In fact, I'd go as far as to say this book and this man's story was the best and my favorite. I will continue to talk about this man's story for weeks and years to come! The author's perspective is what makes this book stand apart for me. It was so well written and engaging. He shows an indepth perspective on the inequalities in our justice system from a very interesting vantage point, as a defendant and a defender. His story is powerful and I am so thrilled I was able to learn about his moving story fighting for his life and for the oppressed. It was an unbelievablely, shocking story, but it is one every American must read. I cried so many times, but in the end you are filled with hope for Adams and for the people who cross his path. Adams is using his experience and his story to help others, and it is so heartwarming to witness. I am recommending this book to all my family and friends! If you loved books, like Just Mercy, you will love this book and I encourage you to read it! ***Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me an advanced copy of this book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emily | emilybythebookvine

    Wow. This book was OUTSTANDING! 🙌 ⠀ Sadly the publishing date isn’t until Sept 2021 (thank you @netgalley for sharing this ARC with me). I’m absolutely buying a physical copy when I can, so make sure to get your hands on this important read! I finished it in basically one sitting & highlighted so much on my kindle. ⠀ ⠀ Jarrett Adams is wrongly committed of a crime at 17 years old by an intentionally chosen all-white court room & is left to serve years and years of time for something he didn’t do. W Wow. This book was OUTSTANDING! 🙌 ⠀ Sadly the publishing date isn’t until Sept 2021 (thank you @netgalley for sharing this ARC with me). I’m absolutely buying a physical copy when I can, so make sure to get your hands on this important read! I finished it in basically one sitting & highlighted so much on my kindle. ⠀ ⠀ Jarrett Adams is wrongly committed of a crime at 17 years old by an intentionally chosen all-white court room & is left to serve years and years of time for something he didn’t do. While incarcerated, he chooses to focus on his faith, while learning how to survive in prison & educating himself on the “ins and outs” of the legal system. Most of all, he learns how to be his own representation (something he shouldn’t have had to do) & for others. ⠀ ⠀ 👉🏻 If you liked Just Mercy, you’ll love this. It’s a beautifully written inside perspective as he experienced the wronging of the system first hand & was left waiting the lengthy time in prison (sometimes in segregation) until someone would hear his case again. It also clearly depicts how we don’t set up people to succeed once released from prison as we expect them to just venture back into “normalcy”. ⠀ ⠀ Adams is poised throughout his years wrongfully spent in prison and displays resilience to the max while fighting a system that tells him he is a “disposable black boy”, as his mom would say.⠀ Whether it be because of insufficient representation, unjust sentencing, or just flat out racism... our system is broken. People like Adams are paving the way to what should already be. ⠀ READ THIS! ✨

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon May

    Many thanks to NetGalley and Convergent Books/Penguin Random House for gifting me a copy of this incredible memoir by Jarrett Adams - 5 stars for a must read look into our legal system. Jarrett Adams was just 17 years old when he attended a party with 2 friends in Wisconsin. Soon afterwards, the 3 find themselves accused of a horrible crime they did not commit. Jarrett was eventually sentenced to 28 years in prison. Jarrett through himself into the legal world, spending as much time as possible i Many thanks to NetGalley and Convergent Books/Penguin Random House for gifting me a copy of this incredible memoir by Jarrett Adams - 5 stars for a must read look into our legal system. Jarrett Adams was just 17 years old when he attended a party with 2 friends in Wisconsin. Soon afterwards, the 3 find themselves accused of a horrible crime they did not commit. Jarrett was eventually sentenced to 28 years in prison. Jarrett through himself into the legal world, spending as much time as possible in the law library, eventually helping other prisoners with their legal paperwork. He finally finds that the Wisconsin Innocent Project believes him enough to take on his case and he is eventually exonerated. But that's just another beginning for him as he tries to make his way in a new world. He makes good on his promise to himself to become a lawyer. This is an incredible story - both one of inspiration and perseverance to one of outrage for the way the legal system works in this country. It should never be who can afford the attorney that can tell the best story that determines innocence or guilt but that's the way the system is set up. Jarrett is an amazing man, raised by powerful women who never gave up on him, who is making a real difference in the world. This is an absolute must read - it is as well written as a thriller, all the more so because it's all true.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carla (happiestwhenreading)

    I gotta be honest: I’m so tired of reading books like this. Books about how our justice system is corrupt and racist and unfair. Stories that emphasize how our society just locks people up (disproportionately Black people) and throw away the key. The way we’ve dehumanzied people and raised them with a mindset that they’re expendable and not worthy of due process. And I gotta say: If I’m tired of it, how do you think the Black people and minorities feel? They live in fear every single day of someth I gotta be honest: I’m so tired of reading books like this. Books about how our justice system is corrupt and racist and unfair. Stories that emphasize how our society just locks people up (disproportionately Black people) and throw away the key. The way we’ve dehumanzied people and raised them with a mindset that they’re expendable and not worthy of due process. And I gotta say: If I’m tired of it, how do you think the Black people and minorities feel? They live in fear every single day of something happening to them like what happened to Adams and two of his friends – wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Locked up in prison for eight years (of a twenty-eight year sentence) before finding some lawyers that heard his case, believed him, and then fought to get him released. Through it all, Adams had the love of his mother and aunts. They fed the fire of his faith which ultimately kept him going. When he was finally released, he fought his way through law school while working full-time. Adams is the true definition of resilience and determination. This story is inspiring and a great companion piece to Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson and The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    (4.5 stars) At just 17 years old Jarrett was convicted by an all white jury for committing a sexual assault that never happened. He was facing 30 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit when he decided to take control of his judicial defense. He worked in the law library of the prison helping other prisoners better understand their legal predicaments while also searching for a better lawyer to help with this appeals. He eventually was freed and struggled once he was released finding his purp (4.5 stars) At just 17 years old Jarrett was convicted by an all white jury for committing a sexual assault that never happened. He was facing 30 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit when he decided to take control of his judicial defense. He worked in the law library of the prison helping other prisoners better understand their legal predicaments while also searching for a better lawyer to help with this appeals. He eventually was freed and struggled once he was released finding his purpose. Eventually he went to Law school and became a practicing attorney in the very state he was wrongfully convicted in. What a tremendous life story this book tells. At every turn Jarrett faced unbelievable circumstances but he had such self determination and smarts to turn his life around. I kept asking what else could possibly go wrong and after endless battles fought he was finally given advocates who listened to his life story and helped him redeem justice. The United States justice system is broken and the author of this book is a product of the racist actions of this system. This book felt like I was just listening to Jarrett tell his life story which was truly tremendous. I found it easy and enjoyable to read, I definitely even might have cried a little. The only fault I found in the writing was the multiple mentions of persons being fat as an insult and often being a defining characteristic. Which of course was completely unnecessary for this story. So those moments pulled me out of the narrative at some points but otherwise I found Jarrett's life story compelling. Definitely a necessary read to better understand the faults in our justice system. Thank you to Netgalley and Convergent Books for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

  15. 4 out of 5

    C

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Over the last year I have read a few books about social injustice and the persecution of African Americans for minor infractions. I had no idea until I read A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett. It was an eye-opening read and raised my awareness of the significant injustices and the need for reform of the criminal justice system. As a result, I was immediately drawn to Jarrett Adam’s story and I thank Netgallery for an advanced copy. It is a story of hope and resiliency and pure determinat Over the last year I have read a few books about social injustice and the persecution of African Americans for minor infractions. I had no idea until I read A Knock at Midnight by Brittany K. Barnett. It was an eye-opening read and raised my awareness of the significant injustices and the need for reform of the criminal justice system. As a result, I was immediately drawn to Jarrett Adam’s story and I thank Netgallery for an advanced copy. It is a story of hope and resiliency and pure determination. Though his story is one of victory, it struck me that there are so many Jarretts that have been persecuted for minor infractions and may never be freed. It also struck me that it is a story that Jarrett should never have had to write. He has written it though because this was his lived experience to share with others and to fight for social justice. He became an attorney and is making a positive difference in the lives of so many as a result of what he has endured. This could be a movie as it is a very moving story. Thanks again Netgallery for the opportunity to read Mr. Adam’s story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Kenyon

    Jarrett Adams was seventeen years old when he went to a college party in Wisconsin. He was with friends and they all had fun. They even had sex with the same girl. Afterward, they continued to hang out and then returned to their homes in Chicago. That pivotal moment defined the rest of Jarrett’s life. Through a series of events, Adams is sentenced to 28 years for rape. He tries to get help for his case, but it turns out he must help himself by learning about his rights. This process leads him to Jarrett Adams was seventeen years old when he went to a college party in Wisconsin. He was with friends and they all had fun. They even had sex with the same girl. Afterward, they continued to hang out and then returned to their homes in Chicago. That pivotal moment defined the rest of Jarrett’s life. Through a series of events, Adams is sentenced to 28 years for rape. He tries to get help for his case, but it turns out he must help himself by learning about his rights. This process leads him to the Wisconsin Innocence Project and his conviction being overturned … ten years later. Redeeming Justice is a non-fiction memoir that is a must-read for all people no matter their age, race, or gender. The issues discussed within the pages will shine a spotlight on flaws in our criminal justice system as well as our country in general. I am the first to admit that I am a middle-aged white woman, but I work in a minority-majority high school and see many students who could easily fall into the criminal justice system without a way out. I highly recommend Redeeming Justice to all teens and adults.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara Broad

    "Redeeming Justice" by Jarrett Adams is the true story of how the author managed to secure his freedom after being wrongly convicted of a crime as a teenager and eventually became the lawyer that he wished he had. This book highlights the many issues with our country's criminal justice system, from overworked public defenders who lack the time and resources to appropriately address the cases of each of their clients, to biased juries, to racism in America, and to the near impossibility of a Blac "Redeeming Justice" by Jarrett Adams is the true story of how the author managed to secure his freedom after being wrongly convicted of a crime as a teenager and eventually became the lawyer that he wished he had. This book highlights the many issues with our country's criminal justice system, from overworked public defenders who lack the time and resources to appropriately address the cases of each of their clients, to biased juries, to racism in America, and to the near impossibility of a Black man trying to prove his innocence while incarcerated. Adams also shows through his own experience the financial investment in using people, innocent or not, to fill the many prisons that have been built across the country. Adams becomes a self-taught prison attorney, which helps him understand the law and the resources he needed to get released from prison, which ultimately led to his becoming an investigator and then an attorney. Very rarely does a book make me cry, but tears were streaming down my face at the end!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Enda’s BOOKtique

    Once I started I reading the book, I could not put Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System down. By reading this memoir readers will not only be reminded of the injustice to black men in the criminal justice system... or as the author reminds us, how black men are "disposable," in the eyes of the legal system, but will have an opportunity to learn a great deal of the challenges individuals face over turning convictions when wrongfully ch Once I started I reading the book, I could not put Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System down. By reading this memoir readers will not only be reminded of the injustice to black men in the criminal justice system... or as the author reminds us, how black men are "disposable," in the eyes of the legal system, but will have an opportunity to learn a great deal of the challenges individuals face over turning convictions when wrongfully charged and sentenced. A powerful statement from the author when describing his time in prison... in segregation... "time becomes my cellmate." A well put together memoir that also serves as a good overview of the struggle and fight for justice and equity in an unequal justice system in the USA. I highly recommend the book and will add the book to our store's to be read list. e.jean of Enda's BOOKtique

  19. 5 out of 5

    Enda Jean

    Once I started I reading the book, I could not put Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System down. By reading this memoir readers will not only be reminded of the injustice to black men in the criminal justice system... or as the author reminds us, how black men are "disposable," in the eyes of the legal system, but will have an opportunity to learn a great deal of the challenges individuals face over turning convictions when wrongfully ch Once I started I reading the book, I could not put Redeeming Justice: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System down. By reading this memoir readers will not only be reminded of the injustice to black men in the criminal justice system... or as the author reminds us, how black men are "disposable," in the eyes of the legal system, but will have an opportunity to learn a great deal of the challenges individuals face over turning convictions when wrongfully charged and sentenced. A powerful statement from the author when describing his time in prison... in segregation... "time becomes my cellmate." A well put together memoir that also serves as a good overview of the struggle and fight for justice and equity in an unequal justice system in the USA. I highly recommend the book and will add the book to our store's to be read list. e.jean of Enda's BOOKtique

  20. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    This book is an absolute must-read. It is an absolute page-turner -- I could not put it down. This compelling and moving memoir of Jarrett Adams who was falsely convicted of a crime and the horrendous journey he takes through the prisons and court systems made me angry at the systemic racism inherent in the judicial processes. It is also about class - the quality of the legal counsel you can get makes or breaks your ability to be exonerated/acquitted. It also is a story of empowerment - Jarrett This book is an absolute must-read. It is an absolute page-turner -- I could not put it down. This compelling and moving memoir of Jarrett Adams who was falsely convicted of a crime and the horrendous journey he takes through the prisons and court systems made me angry at the systemic racism inherent in the judicial processes. It is also about class - the quality of the legal counsel you can get makes or breaks your ability to be exonerated/acquitted. It also is a story of empowerment - Jarrett gets sage advice from a cellmate to start researching in the Prison law library. Jarrett begins petitioning for a retrial as well as works with other prisoners on "infractions" within the prison -- which he is then punished for by the guards and administration. This horrible treatment fuels his determination to become a lawyer and we are left hopeful by the end of his memoir. Jarrett Adams is making a difference in this world. I highly recommend this book!

  21. 5 out of 5

    D Witter

    Outstanding. This book really shines a light on the injustice of our "justice" system, especially thanks to the unique perspective of Jarrett Adams, who has experienced the madness from both sides. It's so infuriating to see how easily a person, especially a Black man, can be falsely accused and erroneously convicted. And then, even when finally exonerated, Adams shows how difficult it is to truly be "free" again after having been subjected to the system. The book also sheds light on the Wiscons Outstanding. This book really shines a light on the injustice of our "justice" system, especially thanks to the unique perspective of Jarrett Adams, who has experienced the madness from both sides. It's so infuriating to see how easily a person, especially a Black man, can be falsely accused and erroneously convicted. And then, even when finally exonerated, Adams shows how difficult it is to truly be "free" again after having been subjected to the system. The book also sheds light on the Wisconsin prison system and reveals details about specific institutions that I never knew even as a lifelong resident of the state. I'm saddened that Mr. Adams lost so much of his life to this injustice but I'm grateful that he found a way to help others through his work with the innocence project(s). This is an extremely enlightening book and definitely worth a read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Allyssa Smith

    Justice for Sale by Jarrett Adams I got this as an ARC from #NetGalley. I don’t let being an ARC change my review if I can. I also don’t get paid, other then the copy of the book I get to keep. I don’t make money this way. At age 17, he was sentenced to 28 years for a rape he didn’t commit. After many tries, the Wisconsin Innocence Project finally managed to get him out. His story is one of many black Americans who are locked up because of race. But it is different as well. He came home and was pr Justice for Sale by Jarrett Adams I got this as an ARC from #NetGalley. I don’t let being an ARC change my review if I can. I also don’t get paid, other then the copy of the book I get to keep. I don’t make money this way. At age 17, he was sentenced to 28 years for a rape he didn’t commit. After many tries, the Wisconsin Innocence Project finally managed to get him out. His story is one of many black Americans who are locked up because of race. But it is different as well. He came home and was proven innocent by the Wisconsin Innocence Project. He eventually became a lawyer, working to get people out of prison. In prison he also helped get people’s charges reduced by helping them write a letter to not have to go to solitary confinement. Read this story to see inside America’s justice system, a system that so often fails when people aren’t white.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tara Jackson

    The author was immediately likable from the start. Which made me care about him and his story deeply, and enraged me to see how his case was so mishandled right from the beginning. His so-called attorney should hang his head in shame for the rest of his days and should never, ever practice law again. The system is so broken and biased and there is no real end in sight. His story of tenacity, grit, bravery and perseverance is one I won’t soon forget. It needs to be required reading in law courses The author was immediately likable from the start. Which made me care about him and his story deeply, and enraged me to see how his case was so mishandled right from the beginning. His so-called attorney should hang his head in shame for the rest of his days and should never, ever practice law again. The system is so broken and biased and there is no real end in sight. His story of tenacity, grit, bravery and perseverance is one I won’t soon forget. It needs to be required reading in law courses at every level, and should probably be part of general education curricula at the high school level and beyond.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sharyn Berg

    This is an amazing, maddening, horrific, and inspiring, true account of a young man who was unjustly convicted, along with his friends, of a crime that they did not commit. The author, Jarrett Adams, served 10 years in prison before justice prevailed and he was exonerated and released. Apparently justice goes to the highest bidder, only to be purchased by the richest among us who can afford big ticket lawyers. Mr. Adams prevailed, became a lawyer himself, and to this day continues to fight for t This is an amazing, maddening, horrific, and inspiring, true account of a young man who was unjustly convicted, along with his friends, of a crime that they did not commit. The author, Jarrett Adams, served 10 years in prison before justice prevailed and he was exonerated and released. Apparently justice goes to the highest bidder, only to be purchased by the richest among us who can afford big ticket lawyers. Mr. Adams prevailed, became a lawyer himself, and to this day continues to fight for those unjustly accused or given unjust sentences for the crimes they did commit. This is a book everyone should read. Thank you to NetGalley for the advance for your copy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Glass

    Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. Jarrett Adams' story from wrongful imprisonment to being a lawyer is an absolute page turner. His memories sing with raw, remembered emotion and passion for his work and his story, and his determination and perseverance in the face of institutional racism and prejudice are inspirational. A must read for anyone interested in the US legal system. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. Jarrett Adams' story from wrongful imprisonment to being a lawyer is an absolute page turner. His memories sing with raw, remembered emotion and passion for his work and his story, and his determination and perseverance in the face of institutional racism and prejudice are inspirational. A must read for anyone interested in the US legal system.

  26. 4 out of 5

    rebecca doyle

    I was utterly compelled by Jarretts story from the very first page of the astounding memoir. I have read many similar stories of injustice but Jaretts is particularly moving as he managed to turn his experiences into a reason to help others in similar situations. Jaretts story is one that continues to play out across American even to this day, reading his story and understanding it's consequences is an important step for us all in beginning to tackle racial injustice. I was utterly compelled by Jarretts story from the very first page of the astounding memoir. I have read many similar stories of injustice but Jaretts is particularly moving as he managed to turn his experiences into a reason to help others in similar situations. Jaretts story is one that continues to play out across American even to this day, reading his story and understanding it's consequences is an important step for us all in beginning to tackle racial injustice.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Talia

    Redeeming Justice is both a vivid and honest personal account as well as a striking indictment of the injustice of the criminal justice system. It allows the reader to understand the cruelty embedded in the justice system and to get a glimpse of the humanity and fortitude of those impacted by the system itself. Mr. Adam’s story will not allow you to exhale until it has been heard. What a tremendous feat of both vulnerability and strength. This is a must add to any school library.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Terry Solfest

    Every once in awhile a book comes along that you cannot put down, this is that book. Amazing memoir! At times enraging, at times inspiring! Always thought provoking. As a resident of the Chicago suburbs this book hit hard, you cannot turn on the local news without seeing the pain of Black families and the ever changing neighborhoods on Chicago's south and west sides. Highly recommended! Let's hope that more awareness brings positive change to our justice system. Every once in awhile a book comes along that you cannot put down, this is that book. Amazing memoir! At times enraging, at times inspiring! Always thought provoking. As a resident of the Chicago suburbs this book hit hard, you cannot turn on the local news without seeing the pain of Black families and the ever changing neighborhoods on Chicago's south and west sides. Highly recommended! Let's hope that more awareness brings positive change to our justice system.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

    Jarret's story made it difficult to begin reading, but his writing and way with storytelling made it impossible to put his memoir down. Redeeming Justice is absurdly compelling and every word is both an offering and a lesson in the flaws of the American justice system. I expect to hear more about Jarret's story when his books hits shelves and as the USA moved toward true equality. Jarret's story made it difficult to begin reading, but his writing and way with storytelling made it impossible to put his memoir down. Redeeming Justice is absurdly compelling and every word is both an offering and a lesson in the flaws of the American justice system. I expect to hear more about Jarret's story when his books hits shelves and as the USA moved toward true equality.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Powell

    I am not sure enjoy is the right word. Reading this book was both shocking and educational, I couldn’t put the book down. What an incredible man Jarrett Adams is. His story could have gone in so many directions but he chose to pursue his dream and helps others. A great read

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