The University of Washington Tacoma will present a forum next month to discuss wrongful convictions in Washington State. Since 2008, four people who were convicted of major crimes and incarcerated in Washington state prisons have been exonerated and released, thanks to the efforts of the University of Washington’s Innocence Project Northwest. Nationally, 281 people have been exonerated through the efforts of Innocence Projects since the first one was founded in 1992. The forum is scheduled for Weds., Jan. 11, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in Philip Hall. Panelists will discuss general factors leading to wrongful conviction and what can be done to minimize its occurrence. Panelists include Alan Northrop, exonerated of a rape conviction in 2010; Jacqueline McMurtie, associate professor of law at UW School of Law and director of the Innocence Project Northwest; Stephen Ross, assistant professor of psychology at UW Tacoma and director of the Center for Applied Social Cognition Research; Mark Lindquist (or another representative), from the Pierce County Prosecutors Office; and Lara Zarowsky, policy staff attorney for the Innocence Project Northwest. The event is free but registration is required online at http://www.tacoma.uw.edu/calendar/wrongful-convictions-washington-state-panel . For more information, visit http://www.tacoma.washington.edu/messages/news/2011/3/story5.html .
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In 2007, Tacoma Daily Index editor Todd Matthews received third-place honors from the Society of Professional Journalists for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project and its work in helping to exonerate a Yakima man through DNA testing after he spent 10 years in prison. You can read the article, which appeared in Seattle magazine, online at http://www.wahmee.com/seamag_innocence_project.pdf .