Exonerated Convict Is Ready to Test Washington’s New Law

Jul 30, 2013

A new law that took effect this week in Washington allows people wrongfully convicted of crimes to sue the state for damages.

Northrop spent 17 years in prison before he was released.
Credit Andrew Bardwell / Wikimedia Commons

Alan Northrop will be one of the first to file a claim.

He was convicted of rape, burglary and kidnapping in 1993, and was in prison for 17 years before being exonerated and released.

Under the terms of the law, he can file a claim of up to 50-thousand dollars.

The state could also reimburse legal fees, and pay child support owed, and it could help foot the bill for the person and their children to attend in-state colleges.

Despite that, Northrop says the amount doesn’t begin to compensate him for what he went through behind bars.

“Oh, absolutely not. I mean there is no price for that. I mean, the mental anguish alone, despite everything else, is priceless to the negative" says Northrop.

Northrop says what he regrets the most was missing seeing his son grow up. When he went into jail, the boy was 2. He was 19 by the time Northrop was finally released.

Copyright 2013 KUOW