Kentucky court tosses $2.25M police officer misconduct verdict

Published 9:41 pm Sunday, April 3, 2022

A Kentucky appeals court on Friday overturned a $2.25 million jury award to a former University of Louisville student in a wrongful arrest case.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that Tiffany Washington’s suit against disgraced former Louisville Metro Police Detective Crystal Marlowe and the city was filed after a one-year statute of limitations expired and should have been dismissed, The Courier-Journal reported. Washington’s case was one of several pending against Marlowe and the city that was dismissed on Friday for the same issue, while a few similar suits filed within the statute of limitations survive.

Washington was working in the university library when she was arrested in 2007 in a robbery. She didn’t file her malicious prosecution suit until February 2010, nearly two years after the charges against her were dropped. Washington’s attorneys argued that she did not know the scope of Marlowe’s misconduct until it was exposed by a 2010 Courier-Journal investigation.

The newspaper reported Marlowe arrested more than a dozen people over a two-year period who could not have committed the crimes they were accused of, either because they were in jail at the time or had other airtight alibis. Marlowe was fired in 2011.

When Marlowe issued an arrest warrant for Washington, she claimed a robbery victim was able to positively identify the student. But Washington was able to produce telephone records and eyewitness testimony showing she was 130 miles (209 kilometers) away in Henderson County, celebrating Christmas with her family, on the night of the crime.

Washington spent five days in jail before her $50,000 cash bond was reduced to an amount she could afford. A grand jury declined to indict her.

Washington sued in 2010 for malicious prosecution. Following a weeklong trial in 2019, a jury awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.

Attorney John Bahe, who represents Washington and several other plaintiffs, told WDRB-TV he planned to appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court.