Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series

Friday, April 18, 2008 at 4:00 p.m., Worthington Center

Jacqueline McMurtrie, associate professor at the University of Washington School of Law, will discuss her work as director of the Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) Clinic, an organization that has overturned the convictions of 12 wrongly convicted inmates since its formation in 1997. Admission is free and open to the public.

McMurtrie joined the University of Washington School of Law faculty in 1989 after a career as a public defender. Her research and teaching interests revolve primarily around criminal law and appellate/post-conviction practice, with an emphasis on wrongful convictions. McMurtrie’s work with IPNW is linked to the Innocence Network, an affiliation of international organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted.

In her presentation, McMurtrie will give a brief overview of the Innocence Network. Using case studies from different countries, she will discuss the leading causes of wrongful convictions and the reforms that can decrease the rate of error in the criminal justice system.

To date, more than 200 people have been freed after DNA tests conclusively established their innocence, while numerous others have been exonerated through investigative work that uncovered evidence of innocence without the benefit of DNA testing. “Studies of the DNA exoneration cases and other erroneous convictions provide irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events, but arise from systemic defects that can be precisely identified and addressed,” says McMurtrie.

McMurtrie received a President’s Award from the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a Pro Bono Award from the National Law Journal in honor of her work with IPNW. She has been recognized as a Washington State “Super Lawyer” and selected by students as a Phillip A. Trautman Professor of the Year.

College of Arts and Sciences