News Release

Defense Attorney and Criminal Law Professor JaneAnne Murray Receives NACDL’s Champion of Justice Legal Award

Washington, DC (March 7, 2022) – JaneAnne Murray was awarded the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Champion of Justice Legal Award on February 26 during the Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Austin, TX. Champion of Justice Awards are bestowed upon those individuals who—through legislative, journalistic, philanthropic, or humanitarian pursuits—have staunchly preserved or defended the constitutional rights of American citizens and have endeavored to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime.

“JaneAnne Murray has been a criminal defense lawyer for more than twenty-five years and for the past ten years, in addition to her practice, has taught at the University of Minnesota Law School. At the law school JaneAnne founded a clemency clinic which has so far secured the release of 32 incarcerated people and introduced literally dozens of law students to the horrors of mass incarceration,” said NACDL Secretary Andrew Birrell. “As an NACDL Board member and chair or member of various NACDL committees, including co-chair of the Sentencing Committee, JaneAnne has worked tirelessly for the cause of justice on both an operational and a leadership level. JaneAnne is also a Board member of the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL). As part of MACDL, JaneAnne is organizing a Minnesota State Clemency Project in collaboration with NACDL and is working with MACDL’s legislative committee to advance legislation she and a student drafted to create a ‘second look’ for prisoners whose crimes were driven by [domestic or sexual] trauma. JaneAnne’s work as a lawyer for individual defendants and as an advocate for state and national criminal legal reform makes her an especially deserving recipient of the NACDL Champion of Justice Award.”

“JaneAnne has devoted her celebrated intelligence, her time and effort, and her soul to giving life to the abstract notion of redemption,” said NACDL President Martín Antonio Sabelli. “She has thrown a lifeline to those languishing under unconscionable prison sentences — saving many — and she has pioneered and inspired Second Look reform that will continue to restore justice where justice was denied by our criminal legal system. While she might have a leg up on many of us wielding words as a child of the land of Yeats, Heaney, and Wilde, JaneAnne has consistently focused her enormous capacities not for her own gain but to make this world better.”


Kate Holden, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7624 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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