A Texas judge ordered that a man convicted of a crime in 2011 based on a corrupt police officer’s testimony be declared innocent after serving two years of an eight-year sentence.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys submitted a joint filing claiming that the case against Otis Mallet, 64, had been built on false claims made by former Houston Police Department Officer Gerald Goines, ABC News reports.
“What a miscarriage of justice we have all witnessed with your case, Mr. Mallet,” Judge Ramona Franklin said Tuesday.
Goines, a narcotics officer, claimed that Mallet and his brother sold him crack cocaine for $200 in 2008 during an under-cover drug operation. Despite several neighbors disputing Goines’ claims, Mallet was convicted solely on officer testimony. Mallet was convicted in 2011 and served two years in prison, before being released on parole.
“Mr. Mallet’s case is significant because it appears that Mr. Goines was operating outside of the law for more than a decade,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. “There’s no telling how many cases like this may be out there.”
Prosecutors said Goines’ testimony was “the cornerstone” of the case against Mallet, although four neighbors disputed the story in court. After Goines was indicted on charges of felony murder and tampering with a government record, stemming from a drug raid that left two people dead and four officers wounded, prosecutors re-examined Mallet’s case and determined that Goines had lied about nearly every aspect of his testimony, the Houston Chronicle reports.
“Now we know Mr. Goines was lying and using the district attorney’s office as a tool to convict people wrongfully more than a decade ago,” Ogg said in a statement. “This case also raises questions about how buy-money was being issued by the Houston Police Department’s narcotics division, and how drug payouts were being supervised and audited.”