Albert Woodfox Applies for Bail With Expedited Review

A3 Newsletter:
albert-carrieThis afternoon Albert Woodfox’s legal team submitted an application to US District Court Judge James A. Brady for release on bail with expedited review (View the court filing here).

This month marks 2 years since Albert’s conviction was overturned for a third time based on a finding of racial discrimination in the selection of his grand jury foreperson, a decision now firmly upheld by a unanimous panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Though the Attorney General may continue to stand in the way of justice and appeal yet again to the US Supreme Court and/or attempt to retry him, Albert’s attorneys argue that there is no legal or moral justification to hold him in prison any longer, nor any reason to believe the State of Louisiana could succeed in reconvicting him in a fair proceeding.

In a moving petition, they detail not just the legal underpinnings of freeing those wrongfully convicted, but also the deeply flawed legal processes that have resulted in this innocent man spending an unconscionable 4 decades in a solitary cell. As they point out, “the State has now had not just one but two chances to convict Mr. Woodfox at a trial that passes constitutional muster, and failed.”

The application reminds the Court that the State itself during the appeals process admitted that if Albert were to prevail “re-trying him for a crime that occurred more than 40 years ago…may render retrial difficult, even impossible.”

But regardless of whether the State elects to retry Albert or not, as another federal district court concluded, “[T]he liberty interest of an improperly convicted prisoner is stronger than any injury that may be caused to the [State] in releasing petitioner from custody pending retrial.”). Indeed, a prisoner, “suffers irreparable harm each day that he is imprisoned in violation of the United States Constitution.”

Certainly the reality of Albert’s grossly inhumane conditions of confinement only make this harm more egregious and the urgency for release more compelling.

An expedited hearing date of Monday, February 23rd has been requested. We will let you know as soon as we hear anything from the Court.

Saturday, Denver: Remember Herman, Fight for Albert, documentary film screening for the Angola 3

landofthefreePlease join the Denver Anarchist Black Cross at the Blair-Caldwell Research Library on Sat 10/12 starting at 2pm for a movie showing and discussion afterwards.

Saturday October 12, 2pm
Blair-Caldwell Research Library, 2401 Welton Street, Denver

In the Land of the Free… narrated by Samuel L. Jackson

“Tells the shocking and unbelievable story of Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King, three black men from rural Louisiana who were held in solitary confinement in the biggest prison in the U.S., an 18,000-acre former slave plantation known as Angola. Woodfox and Wallace, founding members of the first prison chapter of the Black Panther Party, worked along with King to speak out against the inhumane treatment and racial segregation in the prison. King was released in 2001 after almost thirty years of solitary confinement. Woodfox and Wallace, convicted in the highly contested stabbing death of white prison guard Brent Miller, remain in Angola where they have spent more than thirty-six years in solitary confinement. Made aware of their plight, Congressman John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, visited Wallace and Woodfox in prison in March 2008. This documentary tells the ongoing story of the case of these three extraordinary men.”

Herman Wallace was released last week, only to fatally succumb to his battle with liver cancer after a mere 3 days of freedom. Please join us to honor Herman, and discuss local efforts to ensure the freedom of his co-defendant and final imprisoned member of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox.

If you can’t attend and would like to help us to support Albert Woodfox and other prisoners, please donate here if you can! Any amount helps… https://www.wepay.com/donations/denver-anarchist-black-cross

Herman Wallace: “The Muhammad Ali of the Justice System Passes On…”

hermanrelease2-300-DNFrom Angola 3 News:

This morning we lost without a doubt the biggest, bravest, and brashest personality in the political prisoner world.  It is with great sadness that we write with the news of Herman Wallace’s passing.

Herman never did anything half way.  He embraced his many quests and adventures in life with a tenacious gusto and fearless determination that will absolutely never be rivaled.  He was exceptionally loyal and loving to those he considered friends, and always went out of his way to stand up for those causes and individuals in need of a strong voice or fierce advocate, no matter the consequences.

Anyone lucky enough to have spent any time with Herman knows that his indomitable spirit will live on through his work and the example he left behind.  May each of us aspire to be as dedicated to something as Herman was to life, and to justice.

Below is a short obituary/press statement for those who didn’t know him well in case you wish to circulate something.  Tributes from those who were closest to Herman and more information on how to help preserve his legacy by keeping his struggle alive will soon follow.

——————

On October 4th, 2013, Herman Wallace, an icon of the modern prison reform movement and an innocent man, died a free man after spending an unimaginable 41 years in solitary confinement.

Herman spent the last four decades of his life fighting against all that is unjust in the criminal justice system, making international the inhuman plight that is long term solitary confinement, and struggling to prove that he was an innocent man.  Just 3 days before his passing, he succeeded, his conviction was overturned, and he was released to spend his final hours surrounded by loved ones.  Despite his brief moments of freedom, his case will now forever serve as a tragic example that justice delayed is justice denied.

Herman Wallace’s early life in New Orleans during the heyday of an unforgiving and unjust Jim Crow south often found him on the wrong side of the law and eventually he was sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for armed robbery.  While there, he was introduced to the Black Panther’s powerful message of self determination and collective community action and quickly became one of its most persuasive and ardent practitioners.

Not long after he began to organize hunger and work strikes to protest the continued segregation, endemic corruption, and horrific abuse rampant at the prison, he and his fellow panther comrades Albert Woodfox and Robert King were charged with murders they did not commit and thrown in solitary.  Robert was released in 2001 after 29 years in solitary but Herman remained there for an unprecedented 41 years, and Albert is still in a 6×9 solitary cell.

Herman’s criminal case ended with his passing, but his legacy will live on through a civil lawsuit he filed jointly with Robert and Albert that seeks to define and abolish long term solitary confinement as cruel and unusual punishment, and through his comrade Albert Woodfox’s still active and promising bid for freedom from the wrongful conviction they both shared.

Herman was only 9 days shy of 72 years old.

Services will be held in New Orleans. The date and location will be forthcoming.

For more information visitwww.angola3.org andhttp://angola3news.blogspot.com/.

BREAKING: HERMAN WALLACE HAS BEEN FREED!

Herman-7-2013

From Democracy Now:

Angola 3 member Herman Wallace has been released from prison in Louisiana after 42 years in solitary confinement. Supporters say he is en route to New Orleans to live out his days in hospice. Watch Democracy Now! for update on Wednesday when we will be joined by fellow freed Angola 3 member Robert King, and by Wallace’s defense attorney, George Kendall.

We received this statement from Wallace’s legal team:

“Tonight, Herman Wallace has left the walls of Louisiana prisons and will be able to receive the medical care that his advanced liver cancer requires. It took the order of a federal judge to address the clear constitutional violations present in Mr. Wallace’s 1974 trial and grant him relief. The state of Louisiana has had many opportunities to address this injustice and has repeatedly and utterly failed to do so.

“Mr. Wallace has been granted a new trial, but his illness is terminal and advanced. However, the unfathomable punishment of more than four decades which Mr. Wallace spent in solitary confinement conditions will be the subject of litigation which will continue even after Mr. Wallace passes away. It is Mr. Wallace’s hope that this litigation will help ensure that others, including his lifelong friend and fellow ‘Angola 3′ member, Albert Woodfox, do not continue to suffer such cruel and unusual confinement even after Mr. Wallace is gone.”

BREAKING: State appeals decision, refuses to release Herman Wallace; Judge denies appeal, issues second order to release, threatens state with contempt charges

Herman-BikeFrom Angola 3 News:

After this morning’s bombshell ruling by Judge Jackson overturning Herman’s conviction and ordering his immediate release, his legal team has spent the day trying to convince Louisiana officials to do as the Court requires and let him go free.

As some outlets have reported, an ambulance has been outside the prison all afternoon ready to transport him out of prison to supporter sponsored accommodations complete with hospice care, but the State stubbornly refused release and filed a motion to Stay.

Just moments ago, Judge Jackson issued an order (view the court document here) denying the State’s desperate attempt at keeping Herman behind bars, again ordered his release, and cautioned Louisiana officials that their failure to release him immediately would put them in Contempt of Court.

We will update you as soon as we hear any more news.

BREAKING: Federal judge orders release of Angola 3 prisoner Herman Wallace

herman_wallace-aloneFrom Democracy Now:

A federal judge has ordered the immediate release of Herman Wallace, a member of the so-called Angola 3, who was held in solitary confinement for more than 40 years. The judge ordered his release because women were excluded from the grand jury in his case four decades ago, and called for “the State immediately release Mr. Wallace from custody.” The decision comes as Wallace is dying of liver cancer. Wallace’s supporters say he has just days to live, but his requests for compassionate release has so far gone unanswered.

Wallace reportedly received the news today from his two fellow members of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox and Robert King Wilkerson, who had a previously scheduled visit. His lawyers are working now to secure his release as soon as possible.

Herman Wallace’s legal team said today:

“With today’s ruling, at long last, Herman Wallace has been afforded some measure of justice after a lifetime of injustice. We ask that the Department of Corrections honor Judge Jackson’s order and immediately release Herman Wallace so that he can spend his final days as a free man.”

“In addition, litigation challenging Mr. Wallace’s unconstitutional confinement in solitary confinement for four decades will continue in his name. It is Mr. Wallace’s hope that this litigation will help ensure that others, including his lifelong friend and fellow ‘Angola 3′ member, Albert Woodfox, do not continue to suffer such cruel and unusual confinement even after Mr. Wallace is gone.”

DABC Note: According to the Louisiana DOC, Herman is still in detention. We don’t know when or if Herman will actually be freed. Once we get confirmation of his release, we will update this article to reflect that.

Political Prisoner Mumia radio commentary predicts Zimmerman’s acquittal

Full audio file here at: http://www.prisonradio.org/media/audio/mumia/coming-acquittal-145-mumia-abu-jamal

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