Kentucky Court Overturns Recovered Memory Conviction

Timothy Smith has served six years of a 20-year prison sentence. Now he will go free.

According to the Cincinnati Post, in 2001, Smith was convicted of sexually assaulting his daughter 10 years earlier, when she was 8 years old. Nobody believed his pleas that he did nothing wrong until his daughter’s death in 2005. Katie Smith was 22 and faking pregnancy. She lured a pregnant woman into her apartment and attacked her with a knife. The pregnant woman got the knife from Smith and killed her in the struggle.

The Kentucky Innocence Project had already taken Timothy Smith’s case, filing a motion for a new trial. The Innocence Project claimed Smith’s criminal defense attorney failed to adequately challenge claims that Smith suffered from repressed memory syndrome. She had only made the allegations against her father in 2000, when she was 17 years old. She said she had repressed the memory of the attack until then.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the Project, saying that while repressed memory syndrome has garnered much debate in the scientific community, the trial record was devoid of any scientific evidence regarding repressed memories.

Smith’s attorney said that while he’d like to vindicated with a not guilty verdict in a second trial, he would rather just stay out of prison.


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