HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A dozen years after he was first arrested, Otis Mallet is one step closer to being fully exonerated.
Monday morning, a judge agreed with prosecutors and defense attorneys, recommending the exoneration to the Court of Appeals.
For years, Mallet and his attorneys have argued that evidence in his drug case was made up by former Houston Police Officer Gerald Goines.
Today, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg agreed, stating that Mallet was "Actually Innocent" during a court hearing.
Mallet was arrested in 2008 in Southeast Houston. Goines allegedly said he was working undercover and saw Mallet's brother riding his bike, going to Mallet, and buying drugs. He served two years in state prison. According to prosecutors, Goines made up the whole thing.
"I told him that I believed his suffering will help a lot of other people," said Ogg after the court proceedings. "I wanted him to know that his wrongful conviction will have meaning."
Today's momentous occasion followed an initial a few weeks ago in January, where Goines was subpoenaed to testify.
"Otis has been fighting this case since 2008," said his appellate attorney Jonathan Landers. "So, it's fair to say he's pretty tired of being put through all this."
Initially, during that hearing, Goines' attorney Nicole Deborde said her client was unavailable, having just had surgery. But the judge in the hearing was not satisfied with the answer and instructed that Goines show up anyway.
Wearing athletic clothing and a bandage covering his nose and mouth, Goines appeared in court briefly. He told the judge that he would plead the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination if called to testify, and he was allowed to leave.
Goines did not comment as he walked out.
The hearing then continued, with prosecutors and appellate attorneys agreeing on several major points. Both agreed that they believe Goines lied about an undercover informant, and falsified paperwork during Mallet's initial trial.
"We agree false testimony was given by Gerald Goines in the trial of Mr. Mallet in 2008," said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. "We also agree that he failed to disclose relevant evidence to our prosecutors, who then failed to disclose to the defense, through no fault of her own."
Much of this information in the Mallet case came to light after Goines was implicated in the botched no-knock raid on Harding Street. That raid killed Rhogena Nicholas and her husband Dennis Tuttle. Four officers, including Goines, were also injured. With Goines himself now facing murder charges, thousands of cases he handled, including Mallet's, are now under scrutiny.
"There are thousands of cases we've requested information from HPD," said Ogg. "It simply takes time to get to the truth, especially since (this case) is 12 years old, and there are many, many cases we're looking at involving Gerald Goines."
Mallet's attorney released the following stated regarding the judge's recommendation:
"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."
CASES LINKED TO GOINES DISMISSED
- Trevon Cornett's case involving HPD Officer Gerald Goines dismissed
- Man claims 2 officers at center of Harding St. HPD raid terrorized his neighborhood
- Woman arrested by HPD officer Gerald Goines gets case dismissed
MORE ON THE JAN. 28, 2019 HPD RAID:
- HPD announces new oversight and revisions after deadly raid
- HPD officer at center of controversial raid shot twice before
- HPD union president responds to new information after warrant reveals informant allegedly lied
- Informant didn't buy drugs from suspects killed in police shootout
- HPD DRUG RAID TIMELINE: Before the raid to now