LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – After nearly a decade, a lawsuit filed by several people who claim a former Louisville Metro Police detective arrested them for crimes they could not have committed has been allowed to move forward to trial, with the first one scheduled to begin in September.
While 10 people sued former Detective Crystal Marlowe in 2010, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Audra Eckerle dismissed five, allowing the rest to go to separate trials in a summary judgement ruling on June 19.
Marlowe was fired in 2011 after a police investigation showed she arrested several defendants -- many of them juveniles -- for crimes they did not commit.
The city has spent nearly $138,000 defending Marlowe since the suit was filed, according to records provided by the Jefferson County Attorney’s office.
The lawsuit has lingered in court for years on several motions to dismiss, but the appeals court ruled in 2017 there was enough evidence supporting the claim of malicious prosecution against Marlowe for the case to move forward.
The lawsuit accuses Marlowe of lying in court, or coercing false identifications from witnesses, leading to wrongful arrests. Some of the people Marlowe arrested were out of town when the crimes occurred, while others were in jail on other charges.
Judge Eckerle ruled that five of the arrests were not “unreasonable or plainly incompetent,” and that Marlowe is entitled to official immunity.
The other five plaintiffs can move toward trial, starting Sept. 24 with Tiffany Washington. The other trials have not yet been scheduled.
In December 2007, Marlowe issued an arrest warrant for Washington, then a University of Louisville student, after the detective said a robbery victim was able to "positively ID" her as one of three perpetrators.
But Washington had bank statements, pictures, telephone records and eyewitness testimony showing that she was in Henderson County, 130 miles away, on the night of the robbery.
Washington spent five days in jail before her $50,000 cash bond was reduced to an amount she was able to post. A grand jury chose not to indict her.
The other plaintiffs are Vaughn Carter, Robert Mitchem, Dale Todd and Rodshaud White.
The city does not comment on pending litigation.
Carol Petitt, an attorney for Marlowe, said "we look forward to finally having these cases go to trial and the evidence being heard by a jury."
Marlowe is not working as a police officer but Petitt declined to give further details about the former detective's current status.
Marlowe was fired in January 2011 for what then-Police Chief Robert White called "blatant disregard" for departmental rules.
The Courier-Journal reported in a series of articles in 2010 that Marlowe arrested more than a dozen people over a two-year period who could not have committed the crimes, either because they were already in jail at the time, or because of other evidence that supported their innocence.
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