Houston man declared innocent after prosecutors say his drug case was built on lies by former police
A Harris County judge declared Otis Mallet is innocent after he was arrested on a drug delivery charge in 2008 and convicted three years later. Mallet was released from prison in February 2020 after Mallet’s attorney and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg argued he was arrested based on false information.
According to the Houston Chronicle, former Houston police officer Gerald Goines had lied when it came to Mallet’s case, which resulted in his prison sentence. Goines is believed to have lied in many other cases that led to innocent people being falsely imprisoned. The newspaper reports The Houston Police Department, the FBI and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing 14,000 cases that Goines has worked on in past years, looking for other potential convictions that may be built on lies.
“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,” Ogg told the Chronicle.
Mallet’s case highlights the need for smart and experienced attorneys, especially when it comes to drug cases. They are often more complex than they appear and can sometimes hinge on other areas of the law, like search and seizure.
Police arrest for drug offenses more than any other type of crime. They annually outnumber murders, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries and thefts combined. If you’re going to get arrested for a charge, it is most likely going to be for a drug charge.
The first thing to remember is that you have the constitutional right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions asked by police officers. The only information you are required to provide is identifying information, like your name, address and present some sort of identification.
The second thing to remember is that you do not have to consent to any search by the police officer. You do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle or your person. An officer is not allowed to threaten you with arrest if you do not consent.
When it comes to building a defense to drug charges, a skilled attorney will be able to poke holes in the prosecutor’s argument. In Mallet’s case, proving Goines lied in his reporting would have prevented him from being sentenced to prison. An attorney can also cite the Fourth Amendment, which protects individuals against unreasonable search and seizure of their property by the government. If information is obtained by the officers on the case in any way that violates this right, that information can be challenged and possibly dismissed.
A drug crime accusation in Houston can have serious direct and indirect consequences that can haunt you for years to come, but it doesn’t have to be. Secure the representation of an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney today by contacting Matt Horak at (713) 225-8000, visiting his offices, or using the online contact form on this site and scheduling a case evaluation.