Otis Mallet was arrested in 2008 and convicted of drug delivery charges. He was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Harris County judge three years later but was released on parole after two years.
Mallet, however, shouldn’t have served any time behind bars as he was innocent of the charges. A disgraced and crooked former Houston cop, Gerald Goines, who was behind his conviction, reportedly lied about him peddling drugs and gave a false testimony during his trial.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Mallet is a step closer to finally clearing his name after years of maintaining his innocence. The 64-year-old church deacon was, on Monday, declared innocent by Harris County judge Ramona Franklin after new evidence suggested Goines lied about what actually transpired during their encounter.
“What a miscarriage of justice we have all witnessed with your case, Mr. Mallet,” Judge Ramona Franklin said, adding that he was “actually innocent” of his charges and conviction.
The declaration by the judge was based on a filing by Mallet’s lawyer, Jonathan Landers, and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who both argued that Mallet’s conviction was entirely based on information provided by Goines who lied and intentionally omitted indispensable evidence.
Goines alleged he bought drugs from Mallet and his brother as an undercover cop in 2008, leading to their arrest moments later. Subsequent investigations, however, revealed that he lied in several instances.
During the trial, the former cop claimed he used $200 in “police money” to purchase a “quarter” of crack cocaine from Mallet and his brother. Police expense reports, however, revealed he never filed any draw money the month he claimed he made the purchase, the Houston Chronicle reports. He also told jurors he saw Mallet taking drugs from a can. Fingerprint tests, however, did not identify Mallet’s fingerprints on the said can.
Goines’ previous cases as a former Houston cop has been under serious scrutiny after he lied about a botched drug raid at a Harding Street home in January 2019 which resulted in the deaths of the occupants of the house, Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas. Goines and three other officers who were involved in the raid were also injured, KTRK-TV reports.
In the aftermath of the incident and after investigations, police authorities revealed the reason behind the raid was fabricated by Goines. The former cop alleged the slain homeowners sold drugs.
Goines’ uncovered lies also led to the Houston Police Department, the FBI and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office announcing they were reviewing 14,000 cases he was involved in. He is currently facing murder charges for the Harding Street raid as well as other charges, the Houston Chronicle reports.
“Now we know he was lying and using the district attorney’s office as a tool to convict people wrongfully as early as 2008,” said Ogg. “Anybody who was convicted as a result of Gerald Goines’ testimony, or involvement in a case that is significant or relevant, will now be given a presumption when they file their writ that Goines’ testimony or evidence in their case was false.”
Judge Franklin’s declaration paves the way for Mallet’s case to be heard at the Court of Criminal Appeals, which will review it and determine if he is innocent.
“We are thankful that the District Attorney, Kim Ogg, joined us in our effort to have Otis Mallet declared actually innocent. We are also thankful that Judge Ramona Franklin found that Mr. Mallet is innocent of the crimes alleged at his trial and has recommended to the Court of Criminal Appeals that Mr. Mallet be granted full relief from his convictions. We are now one step closer to reversing the injustice inflicted upon Mr. Mallet and his family,” Landers said in a statement in response to the judge’s recommendation, according to KTRK-TV.