HOUSTON - Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg says prosecutors have identified 69 individuals who may have been convicted on false evidence from former Houston Police narcotics officer Gerald Goines.
A bad cop, purportedly abusing the badge, left a trail of human wreckage more than a decade long.
In January, a grand jury indicted Goines for two charges of felony murder and a charge of tampering with a government record. Goines is charged in connection to the Harding Street raid that left two civilians dead and multiple officers injured.
On Wednesday, prosecutors filed motions requesting that judges appoint lawyers for the 69 individuals so they can begin the process of possibly having their Goines-related convictions overturned.
The duty to unwind the alleged wrong perpetrated by former Houston Police Department Detective Gerald Goines has fallen to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
According to the district attorney’s office, Ogg has concluded 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. "If people were wrongfully convicted based on false testimony by a lying cop, then they should get relief, their case should be reversed and we expect that to happen in these 69 cases."
The district attorney’s office says most of the cases involved the 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.”
Goines was the sole witness to the offense in all of the cases, the district attorney’s office says.
"His testimony is presumed false and now we are asking the court to give these individuals lawyers so they can investigate the actual innocence," said Ogg.
"What Kim Ogg is saying is these people are actually innocent and she's willing to go to bat for them, get judges to sign dismissals that they are actually innocent," said Fox 26 Senior legal analyst Chris Tritico.
Tritico says those who are wrongly convicted have a path to collect damages once their convictions are cleared.
"Once they get that, they can apply for compensation from the Comptroller of Texas for benefits, financial and health benefits for every year they were incarcerated," said Tritico.
With Goines alleged victims in mind, Ogg contends justice delayed should never mean justice completely denied.
"If they were actually innocent and they were wrongfully convicted then they should be compensated," said Ogg.
Among the 69 convictions likely to be overturned defendants served jail time ranging from two months to four years.
Goines is currently under indictment for murder in connection with the Harding Street raid and also faces federal charges of lying to investigators and violating civil rights.
Lawyers for each defendant would review whether the evidence presented by Goines was material in convicting their client. If so, they would decide whether to request a new trial.
Ogg recently asked judges in two 2008 narcotics cases to rule that brothers Steven and Otis Mallet were the victims of false evidence presented by Goines and were actually innocent, and the judges agreed that the cases against the brothers were a “fraud.”