By Tim Cushing
The fallout continues from a no-knock raid in Houston that left the two homeowners dead. The warrant was predicated on statements/controlled buys “performed” by a nonexistent informant using drugs apparently “found” in Officer Gerald Goines’ squad car. What was supposed to be the takedown of a dangerous heroin dealer was actually the killing of two people who possessed no heroin. Instead, investigators found personal use amounts of cocaine and marijuana, and none of the drugs or weapons Officer Goines claimed would be found at the residence in his warrant application.
Since then, it has been proven that sworn officer Gerald Goines is less trustworthy than the public he was supposed to protect. Goines is now facing a handful of state and federal charges related to the unjustified no-knock raid that ended with two Houston citizens dead.
It often appears that few police officers — especially those in drug units — want to earn the public’s trust. All they want is a bunch of easy wins. Forced to confront the dirty dealings of a few dirty cops, the local prosecutor’s office is voluntarily giving up a bunch of their easy wins. Here’s Jacob Sullum of Reason with more details:
Harris County, Texas, District Attorney Kim Ogg plans to support the reversal of “at least 91” more convictions in cases involving Gerald Goines, the former Houston narcotics officer whose fraudulent search warrant affidavit led to the January 2019 drug raid that killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas. Ogg’s office had already backed the dismissal of 73 cases initiated by Goines, who faces state murder charges and federal civil rights charges in connection with the deadly invasion of the middle-aged couple’s house on Harding Street.
When there’s a War (on Drugs) going on, there’s apparently no time to apprise yourself of the details. You just assume the men on the street know what they’re doing. When it becomes apparent they don’t, you respond appropriately. But don’t read this as another 91 complete dismissals. It isn’t. The DA’s office on supports “reversals” of convictions and has recommended courts to appoint legal reps for those targeted by Officer Goines’ investigations. Some convictions may still end up being upheld.
The better news is this: the DA’s office recognizes the dirtiness of Officer Goine’s police work.
“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,” said Josh Reiss, chief of the Post-Conviction Writs Division at Ogg’s office. “The number of cases may grow.”
“May” = “will.” Cops on the drug front have been given free rein for years. That only a few have ended up as disgraced (and criminally-charged) as Goines is nothing more than the dice rolling the right way. The Drug War has given us the Third Party Doctrine abuses and pets telling cops it’s ok to engage in warrantless searches. It has given us the legally-blessed road piracy that is “civil asset forfeiture” and a large number of “acceptable” civil rights violations. And it has given us rogue officers like Goines, who are never given any direct oversight until officers kill someone without justification. The ends justify the means.