Alan Northrop anxiously waits outside a Senate committee hearing, his girlfriend rubbing his shoulders and whispering words of support as he prepares to sign in to testify about nearly two decades of freedom lost.
"Oh boy, here we go," he says as the door opens.
Northrop has been here before, but he's nervous every time. At stake is a measure that would compensate him and others like him who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.
This is the third year in a row he's traveled to the Washington state Capitol in Olympia to tell lawmakers his story: He was convicted of rape and served 17 years in prison before he was exonerated by DNA evidence.
"It's always intense," he said before the recent hearing before the Senate Law & Justice Committee, the third panel he's testified in front of this year. "I just have to get in the zone. It's something that needs to be done."