Judge embraces man who served 6 years for wrongful drug charge that was formally dismissed

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Friday, November 18, 2022
Judge embraces man who served 6 years for wrongful drug charge
"I'm so sorry this happened to you." His conviction was overturned earlier this year because it was based on false testimony from a former HPD officer tied to 2019's deadly botched raid.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It was an emotional moment at the Harris County courthouse on Thursday when a judge formally dismissed a drug charge that landed a man in jail for six years after he was convicted based on false testimony.

A video from our partners at the Houston Chronicle shows the judge coming down from the bench to apologize to Frederick Jeffery.

"I'm so sorry this happened to you," the judge said as he embraced Jeffery. "Thank you sir," he replied back.

Jeffery was sentenced to 25 years in prison for possessing a controlled substance.

His conviction came under scrutiny after it was learned that one of the officers implicated in the notorious 2019 Harding Street raid handled his case.

READ MORE: Inmate to be released after serving 5 years for case tied to former officer linked to botched raid

"I want to praise the Lord": Frederick Jeffrey's mother hasn't seen him in five years, and she'll be the first person to hug him when he is finally released.

A criminal appeals court ruled that his conviction should be overturned, and Jeffrey was released from prison in September.

His freedom finally became official on Thursday during his official declaration of innocence in the courthouse.

"When I was speaking with him, I met him before when he was released, and I apologized then and I apologized now," Judge Danilo Lacayo said. "Even though it was not my fault, I felt as a judge, it needed to be said. It's just one of those deals that wasn't planned, it's just spur of the moment actions."

Jeffery's conviction was based on the false testimony of former Houston Police Officer Gerald Goines, who claimed he was tied to drugs in a case from 2018.

A key piece of evidence in the case was a cellphone that Goines claimed belonged to Jeffrey, but investigators with the DA's office found body camera footage from that day where a co-defendant said the phone belonged to him, not Jeffrey.

Goines was the lead officer in the botched Harding Street raid that killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas-Tuttle in January 2019.

After investigators determined Goines lied in the paperwork to obtain a no-knock warrant on the Tuttles' home, the Harris County District Attorney's Office began reviewing other Goines cases.

He's now facing murder and organized crime charges in connection to the deadly botched drug raid and an alleged years-long scheme involving fake drug buys.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: The Harding Street raid and the fallout