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Joyce Coby

Summary of Goines Cases in Groups Registry
On May 4, 2013, Officer Gerald Goines of the Houston Police Department in Texas arrested 39-year-old Joyce Coby and charged her with delivery of a controlled substance. In court papers, Goines said that Coby had sold him less than a gram of cocaine.

Coby pled guilty in Harris County Criminal District Court on May 22, 2013, and was ordered to serve 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 of cases in which Goines played a substantial role between 2008 and 2019, found 69 people, including Coby, who might have been convicted on false evidence presented by Goines. The review was conducted by the district attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit.

Coby, represented by the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on August 7, 2023.

In her petition, Coby said that she did not possess any drugs that day or give any substances to Goines. She said she would not have pled guilty if she had known of Goines’s misconduct in other cases and the claims of wrongful arrests made against him by other defendants. She also said the wrongful conviction had other negative consequences. She said she didn’t testify in her own defense in a later criminal proceeding because the drug conviction could have been used to impeach her credibility.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office agreed that Coby’s petition should be granted.

On August 30, 2023, a judge in Harris County then recommended that Coby’s writ be granted and referred the case to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The judge noted that the police did not recover any of the money used in the alleged drug buy.

The appellate court granted the writ on November 15, 2023, accepting the trial court’s findings and the state’s concession that Coby’s plea was involuntary and that she had been denied due process.

The state dismissed Coby’s charge on December 21, 2023.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 2/9/2024
Last Updated: 2/9/2024
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2013
Sentence:8 months
Age at the date of reported crime:39
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No