Otis Mallet was released from a Houston, Texas prison on Monday after a judge declared him not guilty of a drug offense for which he has spent the past nine years behind bars.
“What a miscarriage of justice we have all witnessed with your case, Mr. Mallet,” Judge Ramona Franklin said, according to The Houston Chronicle, before ruling that Mallet, 64, was “actually innocent” of a drug delivery charge.
Jonathan Landers, Mallet’s attorney, along with Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, had filed paperwork a day before the judge’s ruling to get Mallet released. In the paperwork, they cited detailed information on how the case was based on information from police officer Gerald Goines, whom they found had lied, failed to disclose critical information, and perpetrated a “fraud.”
Ogg said the case offered “tremendous” significance in the continuing probe into Goines, a disgraced Houston police officer, and his previous cases.
“Now we know he was lying and using the district attorney’s office as a tool to convict people wrongfully as early as 2008,” Ogg said, according to The Houston Chronicle. “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.”
Mallet was arrested in 2008 after Goines said that he had purchased drugs from Mallet and his brother, Steven, while undercover. This testimony came under fire after Goines was involved in a separate January 2019 incident where he claimed to be leading a drug raid at a home that ended in a shootout, causing the deaths of homeowners Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas. Police later found that Goines lied about making a drug buy that resulted in the raid, The Houston Chronicle reported.
That discovery prompted investigations by the Houston Police Department, the FBI and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and also the review of 14,000 cases that Goines and his squad were involved with. Goines is now facing murder charges in Texas and additional federal charges as well.
When prosecutors reexamined Mallett’s case, they found inconsistencies and lies, according to the 20-page joint court filing Ogg and Landers submitted to Franklin. In it, they wrote that Goines’ testimony was the “cornerstone” of the state’s case against Mallet.
Nicole DeBorde, who is representing Goines’, said she looked forward to their day in court and blamed Ogg for taking part in a “media stunt.”
“The DA’s office is using this as way to bolster their position in the other case,” DeBorde told the Chronicle.
Fiesta Missionary Baptist Church Pastor L.J. Comeaux attended the hearing to support Mallet. Mallet serves as a deacon at Fiesta Missionary and his pastor told the Chronicle that since the arrest and his subsequent conviction, he and his family have experienced a “lot of prejudices.” Comeaux further shares that despite it all, Mallet and his family have shown courage in standing up for truth.
“This is a great example of an injustice and how justice can take its course and things can come out right for a good family,” Comeaux told the newspaper. “All the evidence was against him, but it’s a shame that it took the death of somebody else for justice to come to him.”