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Harry Gradney

Summary of Goines Cases in Groups Registry
On June 23, 2015, Officer Gerald Goines of the Houston Police Department in Texas arrested 25-year-old Harry Gradney and charged him with delivery of a controlled substance. In court papers, Goines said that Gradney had sold him less than a gram of cocaine.

Gradney pled guilty to the charge in Harris County Criminal District Court on October 27, 2015, and was sentenced to eight months 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 Gradney, who might have been convicted on false evidence presented by Goines.

Gradney, 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.

In the petition, Gradney said he did not possess any drugs and that he pled guilty after the prosecutor offered him a deal of eight months in jail. “It made no sense to fight the case any longer, especially since it was my word against Goines,” he said. “I did not see how I would be able to prove he made it up.”

The district attorney’s office joined with Gradney in recommending that his habeas petition be granted. On September 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 Gradney’s petition and vacated his conviction on October 18, 2023. The state dismissed Gradney’s charge on November 17, 2023.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 1/9/2024
Last Updated: 1/9/2024
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2015
Sentence:8 months
Age at the date of reported crime:25
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No