Robert A. Harvie Social Justice Lecture Series
Friday, April 18, 2008 at 4:00 p.m., Worthington
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
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.