Two Texas police officers have been relieved of duty in the wake of a no-knock drug raid in Houston on Jan. 29 that led to the death of two people. One of the officers is accused of lying about the heroin purchase that was used to justify the raid. The Harris County District Attorney's Office responded to the news by vowing to review at least 1,400 cases involving the officers. Two of the cases have already been dismissed.
Both of the dismissed cases stem from a drug raid in Dorchester in July 2018. The two officers entered the residence along with six colleagues after allegedly observing a confidential informer purchase crack cocaine. Reports indicate that a no-knock warrant was issued because one of the suspects had been charged twice for violating firearms laws. The raid did not lead to any drug charges against the primary suspect. A second individual, who was found sleeping in a car, was taken into custody after officers found less than a gram of crack cocaine inside the vehicle. The suspect denied the drugs were his.
The weapons charge against the primary suspect was dropped when prosecutors concluded that they did not have sufficient evidence to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. The case against the man found sleeping in a car was dismissed on Feb. 25 in the interest of justice.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may scrutinize old cases closely when the police officers involved have been sanctioned for lying or violating procedural rules. Most cases involving serious drug charges are resolved through plea agreements. Attorneys may seek to have these agreements set aside if subsequent inquiries reveal that police officers may have lied or planted evidence.
Source: The Houston Chronicle, "2nd drug case involving embattled Officer Gerald Goines dismissed in the 'interest of justice'", Keri Blakinger, Feb. 26, 2019