This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
In 1993, Alan Northrop was found guilty in Clark County of rape, burglary and kidnapping and spent 17 years in prison for the crimes. There was a problem with that conviction, though: Northrop was innocent.
Thanks to efforts by the Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington’s Law School, DNA tests of evidence finally cleared Northrop, and he was released in 2010. Besides being wrongfully imprisoned, he missed seeing his three young children grow up. Today he owes more than $100,000 in back child support and says he lives paycheck to paycheck.
Under current state law, he has little chance of receiving compensation for his wrongful conviction. He would have to sue on such grounds as police or prosecutorial misconduct, which could be hard to prove in this case: The victim picked him out of a lineup. Read more »