Jacqueline McMurtrie joined the faculty in 1989 after a career as a public defender. In 1997, she founded the Washington Innocence Project (formerly Innocence Project Northwest) - the nation's third innocence organization - and served as Director until 2015. As Director, Prof. McMurtrie led IPNW's growth from its roots as a volunteer effort to a law clinic and finally into a non-profit organization. To date, the Washington Innocence Project has exonerated 15 people who collectively served over 100 years in prison for crimes they did not commit and successfully advocated for Washington laws to compensate the wrongly convicted and to preserve biological evidence. Professor McMurtrie is a founding member of the Innocence Network, an affiliation of 67 organizations from all over the world.
Professor McMurtrie's dedication to improving criminal justice and advocating for the innocent has been recognized by the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Washington Defender Association, Washington Women Lawyers, and the University of Washington. In 2012, Professor McMurtrie received the University of Washington Outstanding Public Service Award, which recognizes UW faculty and staff members who exhibit exemplary contributions to the common good through public service. In 2013 she was awarded the ACLU of Washington's highest honor, the William O. Douglas award, for outstanding, consistent, and sustained contributions to the cause of civil liberties. In 2019, she received the University Faculty Lecture award, honoring a faculty member whose research or scholarship has been widely recognized by their peers, and whose achievements have had a substantial impact on their profession and society as a whole.
Professor McMurtrie's research and teaching interests revolve primarily around criminal law and appellate/post-conviction practice, with an emphasis on wrongful convictions. Her scholarship has been cited by United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, eight of our States' highest courts, and several intermediary courts of appeal. Professor McMurtrie received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan.