Reportback on Albert Woodfox’s Sept. 2 Oral Arguments at US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

From Angola 3 News:

agola-woodfox-appeal

(PHOTO: A3 supporters outside of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this morning at Albert Woodfox’s oral arguments. Big Thanks to everyone that made it out!!)

This morning, Amnesty International USA released the following statement, reprinted in full.

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Amnesty International USA Statement on Ongoing Incarceration of Albert Woodfox

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans heard oral argument in Albert Woodfox vs. Burl Cain. A three-judge panel will decide whether Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox should be granted unconditional release or face a third trial after spending more than four decades in solitary confinement.

U.S. District Judge James Brady ordered Woodfox’s unconditional release in June, overturning his conviction and barring the state from retrying him. The state of Louisiana appealed the ruling and moved to keep Woodfox behind. Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner for Amnesty International USA’s Individuals at Risk program, attended the oral argument and issued the following statement:

“Today, Albert Woodfox remains doubly trapped — both in solitary confinement and in a deeply flawed legal process that has spanned four decades. Judge Brady’s writ of unconditional release should have been the final chapter in Albert’s 43-year nightmare. Now we can only hope that the courts will finally provide Albert some measure of justice.

“The question remains – why has Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell relentlessly pursued Albert Woodfox? It is time for the Attorney General to act in the name of justice rather than vengeance and stop standing in the way of Albert’s release.”

Louisiana: Criminal Justice activist James Williams facing charges

James WilliamsFrom the Louisiana Justice Institute:

Local Criminal Justice activist James Williams is facing criminal charges as a result of racial profiling and a wrongful arrest he suffered in Harahan in April of last year. He is currently scheduled to stand trial on at 9am on Thursday, November 19th in Jefferson First Parish Court (924 David Drive), and he is encouraging friends and allies to come out and support him.

According to James, “I was the passenger in a car that was pulled over in Harahan for minor traffic violations. Apparently, I angered the officer by asking why he wanted my driver’s license rather than the driver of the car. Next, the officer ordered me out of the car in a visibly agitated manner and proceeded to both verbally and physically abuse me. He then arrested me without telling me – or the driver of the car – the reason. I was later charged with “Battery on a police officer” and “Resisting Arrest,” although I did not fight with or resist any officer on that night.”

According to a list of Frequently Asked Questions from the Justice for James campaign, “Too many police behave in the low income neighborhoods as if they are above the law and untouchable by community members. Racial profiling, wrongful arrest, and officer misconduct are injustices that strain family structures and drain finances in the form of bail, fines, and lost work hours. We should support James because you or a loved one could go through the same thing next week.”

You can read the full story, as told by James, here, or see James explain the case on youtube, here.