[Marxism] Angola 3

Ron J rjacobs3625 at charter.net
Thu Dec 4 16:19:47 MST 2008


Pardon any duplication

"Angola 3" Member to Be Released On Bail After 37 Years. Conviction 
Overturned, Judge Rules Albert Woodfox Must be Free During
Appeals or Re-trial

Angola 3 - Judge Rules Albert Woodfox Must be Free
COALITION TO FREE THE ANGOLA 3
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 

Lawyers: Ruling Brings Hope for Remaining Prisoner, Also Spent 36 
Years in Solitary for Guard's Murder

*Albert Woodfox, who has spent 37 years in prison at Angola 
Penitentiary, must be released on bail, according to a ruling issued 
today by United States District Judge James Brady. On September 
25th, Judge Brady overturned Woodfox's conviction for the 1972 murder 
of prison guard Brent Miller. Though the State has announced its 
intention to appeal that decision, until such an appeal is 
successful, according to today's ruling, there is no conviction on 
which to hold Woodfox.

In his decision, Judge Brady wrote:

"[Woodfox] is a frail, sickly, middle aged man who has had an 
exemplary conduct record for over the last twenty years. At the 
hearing before this Court on October 14, 2008, testimony was adduced 
that if released Mr. Woodfox would live with his niece and her family 
in a gated subdivision in Slidell, Louisiana. Mr. Woodfox has 
withdrawn that request because of fear of harm to his niece and her 
family by members... This change was brought about by counsel 
representing the State of Louisiana contacting the subdivision home 
owners association and providing them with information regarding Mr. 
Woodfox. The Court is not totally privy to what information was given 
to the association but from the documents filed it is apparent that 
the association was not told Mr. Woodfox is frail, sickly, and has had
a clean conduct record for more than twenty years; this Court GRANTS 
Mr. Woodfox's motion for release pending the State's appeal."

Herman Wallace, who was also convicted in the murder, remains in 
prison at Angola. He has an appeal pending with the Supreme Court of 
Louisiana, which is similar in content to Woodfox's successful 
appeal. The two men were wrongly convicted based largely on the 
testimony of a fellow prisoner, Hezekiah Brown, a serial rapist who 
was promised and received a pardon in exchange for his testimony 
against them. Brown was the sole professed eyewitness to the murder, 
and none of the physical evidence put Herman or Albert at the crime 
scene.

Woodfox's legal team is now working with the court to reach an 
agreement on a suitable release location and plan for Woodfox; once 
they agree to a plan, Woodfox will be able to leave Angola. The 
lawyers anticipate the process to take several more days.

Woodfox and Wallace were each held in solitary confinement from the 
time of the murder until last March, after a federal court concluded 
that their suit alleging that such confinement for three decades 
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment could go forward. A third 
man, Robert King Wilkerson, was held in solitary at Angola at the 
same time for a different crime; he was released in 2001 after 
showing that he had been wrongfully convicted.

The three are known as the "Angola 3." All black men, they had been
organizing nonviolently for an end to gang-enforced sex slavery and 
for better conditions inside the prison. Angola at the time was known 
as the "bloodiest prison in the US."

"This is a major victory in a case where justice is long overdue. 
Albert went into Angola in his twenties, and he's walking out in his 
60s. There is no conviction against him now, and the state should 
not take another day of his life," said Chris Aberle, Woodfox's 
lawyer.

"In 37 years, Albert never gave up hope that someday he would walk 
out the gates of Angola. We continue to hope that Herman will join 
him soon. Neither of these men should have spent a day in Angola for 
this crime," said Nick Trenticosta, also a lawyer in the case.

The case has attracted attention on the state and national level. 
Last spring, US House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI) 
visited the men, along with Louisiana House Judiciary Committee Chair 
Cedric Richmond (D-101). Richmond has announced his intention to hold 
hearings on the case, and Conyers continues to monitor developments.

The state had sought a stay of Judge Brady's ruling ordering a new 
trial until the appeal process plays out. Judge Brady granted that 
request. The State must now either win its appeals, or will need to 
either release or retry Woodfox within 120 days of the end of its 
appeals.

Judge Brady held an initial bail hearing on October 14th; he postponed
issuing a decision at that time to allow for additional depositions 
to be taken from Angola Warden Burl Cain and from a doctor who had 
examined Woodfox and his medical records. The State has now 
conducted both of those depositions.

For a copy of the judgment, to speak with the lawyers, or for any 
additional information on the case, please contact Emma Mackinnon, 
emma at fenton. com or 202 302 6920.






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