Harris County District Judge Kelli Johnson
last week declared Steven Mallet, who served 10 months in jail after he was arrested for selling crack cocaine in 2008, "actually innocent." Earlier this month, Harris County District Judge Ramona Franklin reached the same conclusion regarding Mallet's brother, Otis, who served two years for his alleged involvement in the same transaction.
Both men were arrested by Gerald Goines, the veteran narcotics officer who spearheaded the January 2019 drug raid that killed a middle-aged couple, Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, in their home on Harding Street. Goines invented a heroin purchase by a nonexistent confidential informant to justify that raid, which discovered no evidence of drug dealing.
In response to the false testimony identified in the cases against the Mallet brothers, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has more than doubled the time period covered by her re-examination of cases involving Goines and other officers in Squad 15 of the Houston Police Department's Narcotics Division. "Because of the revelations involving the Harding Street raid, District Attorney Ogg initiated a review of 14,000 cases that Goines and his squad worked over the last five years," a press release from Ogg's office says. "With the Mallet cases now being revealed, that review is stretching further back, to 2008."
If the squad handled 14,000 cases in five years, the total number of potentially questionable cases since 2008 is probably something like 30,000, and it's by no means clear that misconduct by narcotics officers began that year. "The sheer number of the cases that could be involved is daunting," Ogg said. "Even though it is challenging, our mandate is to always and continually seek justice."