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Cedric Woods

Summary of Goines Cases in Groups Registry
On March 6, 2013, Officer Gerald Goines of the Houston Police Department in Texas arrested 44-year-old Cedric Woods and charged him with delivery of a controlled substance. In court papers, Goines said that Woods had sold him less than a gram of cocaine.

Woods pled guilty to the charge in Harris County Criminal District Court on September 19, 2013, and was sentenced to a year in state jail.

On January 28, 2019, Goines led a raid on a home belonging to 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and his 58-year-old wife, Rhogena Nicholas. Goines obtained a no-knock warrant after telling a judge that he had set up a controlled buy of narcotics there using a confidential informant. Goines, his partner, Steven Bryant, and other officers broke down the front door of the home and shot a dog that they said lunged at them, which prompted a gun fight. Tuttle and Nicholas were killed.

The Houston Police Department opened an investigation. When Goines’s informant could not be found, Goines eventually admitted there wasn’t an informant.

In April 2019, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office dismissed several dozen pending cases involving Goines and Bryant and began reviewing more than 2,200 cases the two officers handled throughout their careers.

In August 2019, Goines was charged with felony murder, and Bryant was charged with tampering with a government record after the raid. By then, Goines and Bryant had retired. Goines was indicted by a federal grand jury in November 2019 on charges that he deprived Tuttle and Nicholas of their civil rights by killing them.

In February 2020, Houston District Attorney Kim Ogg said that a review by her office’s conviction-integrity unit (CIU) of cases Goines played a substantial role in between 2008 and 2019, found 69 people, including Woods, who might have been convicted on false evidence presented by Goines.

Woods, represented by the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on November 16, 2022. The petition said his plea was involuntary and that the state used false evidence to induce that plea.

Woods later supplemented that petition with a claim of actual innocence. He said that Goines claimed that he gave Woods $20 to buy crack cocaine and $5 for Woods’s assistance in the transaction. Goines was the only officer to witness the alleged transaction, Woods said, and the officers who arrested Woods did not find any money on him.

In the amended petition, Woods described the hardship caused by the wrongful conviction. He said: “This conviction has also kept me from finding work because I have to list it on any job application I fill out. It has also kept me from being able to find a place to live. In fact, I have been homeless and had to eat out of dumpsters. I was robbed during this time and received 35 staples in my head that has caused me permanent brain damage. I also had to learn to walk again, and still have trouble with my legs.”

Although the claim of actual innocence was later withdrawn, the district attorney’s office joined with Woods in recommending that his habeas petition be granted.

On May 12, 2023, a judge in Harris County Criminal District Court accepted the joint recommendation and referred the case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The appellate court granted Woods’s petition and vacated his conviction on August 23, 2023. The state dismissed Woods’s charge on September 26, 2023.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 12/5/2023
Last Updated: 12/5/2023
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2013
Sentence:1 year
Age at the date of reported crime:44
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No