Lawyer Jarrett Adams spent 10 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit—now he’s fighting for others who have been wrongly accused.
“I want you to think about this. Our society has continued to advance since the Constitution was created,” he said. “We’ve advanced in technology and infrastructure but the one thing that we haven’t advanced in was our criminal justice system. That’s why these cases are so important.”
When Adams was 17, he was wrongfully convicted of rape. He spent 10 years in prison before he was exonerated. He now works as an attorney to help make sure more people and their families don’t have to go through what he did. He is currently investigating the murder of a white police officer 20 years ago in Waverly, Virginia.
On April 25, 1998, 25-year-old police officer Allen Gibson was fatally shot while on duty. Within a few days of Officer Gibson’s death, two young men, 27-year-old Terence Richardson and 22-year-old Ferrone Claiborne, were arrested as suspects.
“There is no fingerprints on the gun, there is no DNA, there is no blood, there are no drugs, there are no proceedings from drugs,” Adams said. “There is nothing to this case besides testimony, of people who had incentive to lie.”
1998, the men were tried in state court and took a plea deal. Claiborne was released and Richardson received a short sentence. In 2000, after mounting public pressure, the FBI arrested the men again and they were charged with conspiracy to sell crack cocaine and murder.
They were tried in federal court where a jury acquitted them of murder. Without consulting the jury, the judge used the murder charge during sentencing to give both men life in prison. To this day, both men maintain their innocence on all charges.
Adams continues to investigate the Waverly case in the hope of finding justice for Claiborne and Richardson.