HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Paul Collins is paying the price and has been paying it in so many ways since his February 2018 arrest for drug possession. He maintains his innocence, and now, the DA's office has put his case on hold while they review it.
"My wife passed away behind all this stress in dealing with this case, and these guys here have been terrorizing the black community for a long time," he said.
Two of "these guys" are officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant. Both were involved in the botched raid on Harding Street that left two civilians dead. The DA's office started reviewing Goines' cases after a police investigation uncovered he lied to get the warrant for that raid. First, the Goines cases were under review. Now, Steven Bryant is under the microscope as well. Collins is one of his cases.
"It's a blessing that you are in front of me right now, talking to me about this story, but it's happened to a lot of young men," Bryant said.
It's not clear what will happen to his case. So far, two cases have been tossed out. More could be coming. That's where the dollars and cents come in. How much does it cost to prosecute a drug possession case?
The typical Harris County assistant district attorney makes $80,000 a year. Legal experts tell Fox 26 a typical drug trial takes two to three days. Motions. trial prep, reviewing reports and preparing witnesses take several days too. That means a case can eat up two weeks of a prosecutors time. The cost? Roughly $3,000, just for the prosecutor. Most cases end in plea deals, so they cost less.
The lawyers in roughly fifty cases have been notified of the reviews. Travon Cornett's case was the second one dismissed. But Jeffrey Geary was arrested in the very same raid last July. He served 45 days and is on probation. His case is closed, and so have many doors.
"I can't get a job, 'cause that felony is on my record. So when they look at my record, they're like, 'You have a felony.' I can't get a job," he said.
So he waits. Waits for the wheels of justice to turn. He hopes they turn in his favor.
"Just kind of waiting. Just trying to see what we can do. I just want to get this over with and get on with my life. so I can live a normal life," he said.