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Houston Cop Who Led Deadly Raid May Have Lied, Bill To Mandate Notification If A House Sits In A Reservoir, And Lawsuit Over Release Of Misdemeanor Defendants In Harris County

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo (center) discusses the internal investigation about a January 28 deadly raid in Southeast Houston.

Houston Cop Who Led A Deadly Drug Raid May Have Lied About Informant

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said on Friday the case agent who led a January 28 deadly raid in which five officers were wounded and two people were killed may have lied about a confidential informant.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the officers conducting the internal investigation about the raid have not been able to locate the informant that allegedly bought heroin at the house located at 7815 Harding.

Although Acevedo didn’t mention the name of the case agent in charge of the operation, the Chronicle reported he is Officer Gerald Goines, based on a warrant affidavit which is part of the internal investigation.

According to the warrant, as reported by the Chronicle, Goines named two different informants in two different interviews from his hospital bed. The two informants told investigators they had worked for Goines on other cases, but had no knowledge of the January 28 raid.

Goines has worked for HPD for more than 30 years. Acevedo said he will be relieved of duty when he gets out of the hospital and will face criminal charges.

Flooded street near Cypress Creek in Houston on Aug. 29, 2017, during Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath.

Texas Senate Bill Would Require Homeowners To Notify Buyers If House Sits In Reservoir

During Hurricane Harvey, many Houston homeowners learned for the first time that their homes were built inside a reservoir. Now, a bill by State Senator Joan Huffman could help protect future home buyers from having to learn that lesson the hard way.

The bill would make it mandatory for homeowners to disclose to potential buyers whether their house sits in a reservoir or whether it has ever flooded. Daniel Gonzalez, legislative director for Texas Realtors, said it will be the first such change to the seller disclosure notice in more than a quarter century.

Gonzalez said the changes will be of little use if the homeowners themselves don’t know – and can’t easily find out – whether their house sits in a reservoir or flood pool.

The bill has already been referred to a committee for consideration.

A bail bonds office in Houston, near Minute Maid Park.

Bondsmen Sue Harris County Judges Over Release Of Misdemeanor Defendants

Three Houston bail bond companies have sued Harris County’s 15 misdemeanor judges and Sheriff Ed Gonzalez over a new rule that will release all individuals arrested for a misdemeanor on no-cash bonds, with some exceptions.

The new policy, known as Local Rule 9.1, was written by the county’s misdemeanor judges who were elected last November and will start being implemented Saturday, February 16. The lawsuit accuses Gonzalez of being complicit with the judges.

Individuals arrested for domestic violence, repeat drunken driving offenses and bond violations would not qualify for automatic release, although they might also qualify for personal recognizance bonds in some cases.

Among other arguments, the lawsuit contends the rule effectively denies defendants their constitutional right to bail by removing it as an option. The lawsuit also argues defendants have a right to use the services of a bondsman, when allowed under the Texas constitution and state statute.