In 1997, Professor Jacqueline McMurtrie founded Washington Innocence Project—then called Innocence Project Northwest—as the second Innocence Project in the United States. The organization’s core mission—to free innocent people—remains as critical today as it was then.
Through the work of our dedicated staff, students, and pro bono partners, along with the generous support of our donors, Washington Innocence Project has exonerated 14 men and women who collectively served over 100 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. We also helped secure freedom for nine other individuals.
Our efforts to improve criminal justice in Washington and support exonerees has led to important reforms and new laws for better eyewitness identification procedures, preservation of crime scene evidence, and access to post-conviction DNA testing. We also advocated for legislation that is now law—and compensates exonerees for every year they lost their lives serving time for a crime they didn’t commit.
Originally a project of the University of Washington (UW), Washington Innocence Project has been fortunate to enjoy the support of UW School of Law as we have grown over the past two decades. Since the launch of our client representation clinic in 2002, and our legislative advocacy clinic in 2011, more than 200 UW Law students have represented innocent Washingtonians and advocated in Olympia for policy and legislative changes to identify, prevent, and rectify cases of wrongful convictions.
Today, we are an independent 501(c)(3) organization. As the requests for help increase every year, this structure gives us greater latitude to raise funds, advocate for policies that prevent wrongful convictions, and grow to serve more innocent people.
Washington Innocence Project is honored to be a leading organization in the worldwide innocence movement. This is a role we could not play without the longtime support of so many.