HOUSTON, Texas — Harris County District Attorney has begun the process of clearing an additional 91 defendants convicted in cases which hinged on sworn affidavits from now-former Houston Police Department officer Gerald Goines, she announced on Thursday.
Goines is awaiting trial for murder and tampering with a governmental document in connection with a botched 2019 drug raid on Houston's Harding Street that left Dennis Tuttle and his wife, Rhogena Nicholas, dead. Four officers were also shot during the raid, and survived.
Ogg says the latest round of cases are those in which Goines was the sole affiant in search warrant affidavits which were presented to magistrates to obtain and execute search warrants.
A previous group of 73 cases were examined in which Goines was the sole witness to alleged drug transactions. Ogg says motions have already been filed in those cases.
“We will continue to work to clear people convicted solely on the word of a police officer who we can no longer trust,” Ogg stated. “We are committed to making sure the criminal justice is fair and just for everyone.”
“If the magistrate who Goines asked to sign a warrant to permit the raid on Harding Street had known of his history of lies and deception, he would not have signed it, and Rhogena and Dennis would likely still be alive today,” stated Ogg.
The botched Harding Street raid sparked the Harris County District Attorney's Office's investigation into Goines and ultimately leading to the murder charge in the case. Ogg says other officers in Goines unit are, or were, also under investigation.
Prosecutors will begin filing motions in the latest case group asking that a lawyer be appointed to each defendant. Those lawyers will then review whether the evidence presented by Goines was material in their conviction. If so, and the lawyers decide to request a new trial, Ogg says prosecutors anticipate agreeing to relief and eventual dismissal.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that every conviction in which Goines was the major player, for the past 11 years, needs to be flipped,” stated Josh Reiss, chief of the Post-Conviction Writs Division of the DA’s Office. “The number of cases may grow.”