(HOUSTON) — A Texas judge has recommended that a man who was convicted based on allegedly false evidence from a disgraced former Houston police officer be declared innocent, prosecutors said.
Judge Ramona Franklion ordered that Otis Mallet be declared innocent on Monday after prosecutors and defense attorneys submitted a joint filing, claiming the case against him had been built on false claims made by former Houston Police Department Officer Gerald Goines.
“Mr. Mallet’s case is significant because it appears that Mr. Goines was operating outside of the law for more than a decade,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. “There’s no telling how many cases like this may be out there.”
Mallet was convicted in 2011 after Goines claimed he’s participated in a drug deal. Goines testified that Mallet and his brother sold him crack cocaine for $200 in 2008 while he working as an undercover narcotics officer.
Prosecutors said Goines’ testimony was “the cornerstone” of the case against Mallet, although four neighbors disputed the story in court.
Mallet was convicted based on the officer’s testimony and has served two years of an eight-year sentence.
Prosecutors decided to reopen the case last month when Goines was indicted on charges of felony murder and tampering with a government record in connection. The charges stemmed from a botched drug raid that left two people dead and four officers wounded.
Upon re-examining the case against Mallet, prosecutors found that Goines had repeatedly lied about nearly every aspect of his testimony, according to court records.
Ogg said thousands of cases could come under scrutiny in light of the charges against Goines.
“Now we know Mr. Goines was lying and using the district attorney’s office as a tool to convict people wrongfully more than a decade ago,” Ogg said in a statement. “This case also raises questions about how buy-money was being issued by the Houston Police Department’s narcotics division, and how drug payouts were being supervised and audited.”
Nicole DeBorde, Goines’ attorney, did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment, but she told the Houston Chronicle that Ogg’s actions were a “media stunt.”
“The DA’s office is using this as way to bolster their position in the other case,” she said.
Mallet’s case will now go to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for review.
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