Linda Strite Murnane, Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, was born in East Orange, New Jersey, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ms Murnane attended Mt Notre Dame High School, Reading, Ohio. While in high school she traveled as part of PROJECT TEAM to Sonora, Mexico, where she taught basic literacy skills in the barrios and eijidos to Mexican children working and living in Azteca and Esperanza. Following graduation, she attended undergraduate school at Edgecliff College, Cincinnati, Ohio and Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton, Virginia before joining the United States Air Force in September 1974.
Ms. Murnane served on active duty with the United States Air Force until her retirement from active duty in June 2004. She began her career as an airman basic, obtaining her undergraduate degree while in the military. She received an Associate of Arts Degree from Thomas Nelson Community College (magna cum laude) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from The Christopher Newport College of the College of William and Mary.
Ms Murnane applied for, and was competitively selected to attend Officer Training School, and in September 1976, received her commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. She served as a print journalist, community relations specialist, protocol officer and supply officer for the Air Force between 1974 and 1978.
Ms. Murnane began attending law school classes through the night law program at Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana, while stationed at Keesler AFB, Mississippi as a second lieutenant. This endeavor involved a 200-mile per day commute, after work, four nights a week, as she began her law school program. While attending Loyola University, she was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award for Academic Excellence in Constitutional Law.
In 1978, she was competitively selected for one of only seven law school slots for active duty Air Force members, and through this program, she completed law school at The University of Cincinnati, College of Law, Cincinnati, OH. She obtained her J.D. degree in March 1981. While attending the University of Cincinnati, Ms Murnane was one of the first six Urban Morgan International Human Rights Fellows.
Ms Murnane is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, the Ohio Supreme Court, the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Air Force and Army Courts of Criminal Appeals.
As an attorney, serving on active duty with the Air Force, Ms Murnane held a variety of positions including International Law Chief, Yokota Air Base, Japan, Staff Judge Advocate, Bitburg Air Base, Germany, and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate at Ramstein Air Base Germany and Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
In 1994, Ms Murnane was appointed to the first of four consecutive terms as a trial judge for the United States Air Force. Ms Murnane heard the first criminal trials of U.S. Air Force members stationed in the area of operations for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, traveling to Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, during the hostilities. She served as the Chief Circuit Military Judge, European Circuit, with responsibility for trials of Air Force members in Europe, Southwest Asia, and Northern Africa, from September 2000 to August 2003. At her retirement, Ms Murnane was a colonel in the United States Air Force, and was assigned as the Chief Circuit Military Judge, Eastern Circuit, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
Ms Murnane has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies, teaching courses as part of international military assistance teams in Latvia, Argentina, Rwanda, and Papua New Guinea. She served as the host for the Zambian military delegation on a visit to the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area in 2003 and will be participating as an instructor on equal opportunity and treatment for women in the military in Zambia in March 2005.
Ms Murnane was awarded the Nettie Cronise Lutes Award for opening doors to women and girls in the field of law by the Ohio State Bar Association in 2003. She was honored as the Outstanding Career Armed Services Attorney of the Year in 1997. In 2004, she won first place in the American Bar Association’s Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Essay Contest. She has published articles in "The Judicial Division Record", and "The Judges' Journal", both being publications of The American Bar Association.
Ms Murnane serves as the Vice Chair of the National Conference of Specialized Court Judges, and on the Judicial Division Program Committee, American Bar Association. She serves as the Membership Outreach Chair of the National Association of Women Judges. She is the Kentucky Delegate to the American Judges Association, and a member of the Federal Bar Association, Judicial Division. She is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, and the Commission on Women in the Profession of the Ohio State Bar Association. She is a life member of the Air Force Association.
Ms. Murnane is married to Lt Col Kevin M. Murnane of Galloway, Ohio. He retired from the Air Force on 1 Aug 2005. She is the proud mother of Christina Veillon Leger and Rachel Lyn Veillon Manuel, both graduates of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA. Both of her daughters were born while Ms Murnane attended law school. She is also the proud grandmother of Cody Blake Leger and Abrial Nicolette Leger, and Aidan Ray Manuel.