The Houston District Attorney's office will review 69 convictions that were based solely on evidence provided by a former Houston Police Department officer who is known to have falsified evidence, and who has been charged with murder after a raid based on his fabricated evidence resulted in two deaths.
Dozens of people went to prison on charges based only on evidence provided by former Officer Gerald Goines. After a review of Goines' cases, Houston DA Kim Ogg determined that "defendants in cases during the period from 2008 to 2019 in which Goines played a substantial role are entitled to a presumption that he provided false evidence to secure their convictions."
"We need to clear people convicted solely on the word of a police officer whom we can no longer trust," Ogg said.
Most of the cases involve delivery of a controlled substance and nearly all resulted in the loss of liberty, ranging from a few months in the Harris County Jail to four years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. In all cases, Goines was the sole witness to the offense.
Goines' methods came to light in January 2019 when a Houston PD raid based on a tip from Goines that a couple was selling heroin led to police killing that couple, and several police officers being shot. Goines has been charged with murder for his role in that situation. TheBlaze reported in 2019:
Relying on information provided by Goines, the HPD conducted a no-knock raid in order to serve a search warrant at the home of civilians Dennis Tuttle, 59, and Rhogena Nicholas, 58, early this year. By the time it was over, four officers were shot — two critically injured — a fifth officer suffered a knee injury, and Tuttle and Nicholas were dead.
Reason reported that according to police, "the gunfire began after the first officer through the door used a shotgun to kill the couple's dog." A search of the residence found no evidence of drug dealing or heroin — the purpose of the raid — although KTXA-TV reported that police did find "small amounts of marijuana and cocaine at the home."
Goines initially claimed that the couple had bought heroin from an informant. He later claimed that he had purchased the heroin from them. Goines' partner at the time, Steven Bryant, told investigators he only knew that Goines had the heroin in his car, not that he bought it from the couple as he claimed in the warrant.
Prosecutors filed motions last week for all 69 defendants in question to have lawyers assigned to their cases to determine whether they were wrongly convicted based on false evidence from Goines. If that is determined to be the case, the convictions may be overturned.
(H/T Hot Air)