The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has overturned a man’s conviction after false claims were made by a former HPD officer who is facing murder and organized crime charges in a yearslong scheme involving fake drug buys.
After serving nearly six years of a 25-year sentence for possessing a controlled substance, Frederick Jeffrey walked out a free man back in July.
Now, months later, Texas’ highest criminal court has overturned his conviction, according to the Houston Chronicle.
He and his family were overcome with excitement after learning the news on Wednesday.
“It’s a blessing from God,” Jeffrey said. “It’s like a dream come true. If you ever dreamed about something and you knew you were going to get it, and you got it. It’s a blessing. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”
The latest overturn is the fifth conviction based on a testimony made by former HPD Officer Gerald Goines.
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.
“What hurt me is that it took people having to lose their life for all the dirt he was doing to come to light,” Jeffrey said.
In Jeffrey’s case, he believes he was an easy target as he battled drug addiction.
“I struggled and been in and out of jail for possession, selling drugs,” Jeffrey told ABC13 in July. “They took me to jail for my background.”
On Wednesday, the court of appeals shared they determined that Goines “conducted fictional drug buys, provided false information in the affidavit for the search warrant and testified falsely at (Jeffrey’s) trial that (Jeffrey) had admitted ownership of a cell phone found in close proximity to drugs in this case.”
At the time of his arrest, Jeffrey was walking around a house that Goines busted. Goines then allegedly attributed a broken phone inside the home to Jeffrey.
“The trial court finds that the false evidence and testimony provided by Goines was material, in that there is a reasonable likelihood that the false evidence and testimony affected the judgment of the jury,” a statement from the court read.
The appeals court will send documentation to both Jeffrey’s attorney and the district attorney’s office in the coming days. From there, the DA’s office will immediately drop the case.
In a statement, assistant district attorney Josh Reiss said, People’s faith in the criminal justice system demands that all of the convictions be righteous. This conviction was not righteous.