Check back here for any updates to the status of the legal cases as well as the campaign to free Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. See the History section below for more detailed back story on the Angola 3 and the legal cases currently underway:
Latest Campaign News
- Herman and Albert were moved back to solitary only months after the events featured in the film and remain there. April 17th, 2011 marks 39 years since they first entered solitary.
- February 8th, 2011 Robert celebrated his 10th year of freedom from Angola
- Herman has been moved to solitary in Hunt Prison two hours south of Angola (still under the control of the same regional warden).
- Albert also has been moved to solitary in yet another prison, David Wade, four hours north of Angola.
- In June, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a July, 2008 federal district court decision which found Albert Woodfox’s trial unconstitutional and ordered his conviction vacated. Here is a response letter From Albert:
Today, after waiting 15 months, I learned that the 5th Circuit Federal Appeals Court has reversed a Middle District Court ruling by Judge James Brady granting me a new trial.
What has happened to me is nothing new, still it is a blow like so many other blows suffered by so many other political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu Jamal and Leonard Peltier being the most well-known.
The question now is where do I, our attorneys and many friends and supporters go? Judicially, I will meet with our attorneys and see what options there are. Politically, there is no question – the struggle goes on.
To our family, friends and supporters, I can only imagine what you must be feeling and thinking, and I understand disappointment, but this ruling is not the end of our cause to free Herman Wallace and myself. It is a call to move on, grow stronger, fight harder, not to just to free the A3, but all political prisoners!
This ruling is not an end to revolutionary and social struggle for justice, an end to poverty and the exploitation of the majority of the human race. This ruling is nothing more than the biased opinion of a branch of the U.S. government.
I am not sure what the future holds for me. It took Wilbert Rideau 3 trials to get justice. I may never get justice, but my dedication to revolutionary struggle is unwavering! To the A3 family, my message to you is stay strong, stay focused and stay involved!
All power to the people!
Albert “Shaka Cinque” Woodfox
For more information about this ruling please read this article by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
For the latest news about Herman and Albert and the campaign go to www.angola3.org
See this film because thgey can't
During the 1970s, the Angola 3 protested against continued segregation, corruption and abuse facing the largely black prison population within Angola. They formed one of the only recognised Black Panther Party prison chapters. Shortly after speaking out, Herman and Albert were subsequently convicted for the murder of a prison guard, Brent Miller.
There was no physical evidence against them. The main eye witness was bribed with a carton of cigarettes every week and promised his freedom by the warden in exchange for testifying. Another eye witness was a legally blind, mentally retarded sociopath. A bloody fingerprint from the scene was shown not to belong to Herman or Albert and yet never tested against the rest of the prison population.
Even Brent Miller’s widow doubts that this is a sound conviction.
One man understands their plight more than any other. Robert King too was thrown into solitary at Angola and told it was because he was under investigation for involvement in the Miller murder... even though he wasn’t even in the prison when it happened. The prison authorities used this as their reason for keeping him in solitary confinement for 31 years.
He was subsequently accused of the murder of another prisoner in Angola, again convicted by an all white jury on the evidence of unreliable witnesses who all subsequently recanted, before his conviction was overturned in 2001. It had taken 29 years for him to gain his freedom. Since then he has worked tirelessly all over the world to help bring justice for his friends.
The legal cases
Herman and Albert’s legal criminal cases are at different stages. In the USA the law starts with state law, the final stage of which is the State, or in this case, Louisiana Supreme Court. Then there is federal law, the highest stage of which is the US Supreme Court. Anything in federal law trumps everything in state law… but if federal law does not speak to an issue, the individual states have the right to make whatever laws they want about it. Further, there are certain crimes that are defined as being under state and not federal jurisdiction.
Status of Albert’s case
As stated above, in June, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a July, 2008 federal district court decision which found Albert Woodfox’s trial unconstitutional and ordered his conviction vacated.
Albert has one claim for relief pending in the federal district court, contending that there was unconstitutional discrimination in the selection of a foreperson for the grand jury which indicted him.
Status of Herman’s case
In October, 2009 the Louisiana Supreme Court refused to review an appeals court decision that rejected the report and recommendation of a magistrate judge who found that Herman’s trial was unconstitutional and that his conviction should be vacated. Herman's case will proceed through the federal district court before it is resolved, and may be appealed thereafter.
The State versus the Angola 3
In addition to Herman and Albert’s case there is a third legal action - a civil case which Herman, Albert and Robert filed in the federal court against the state in 1999 – the central charge is that the state is in breach of the 8th amendment of the constitution for implementing "cruel and unusual punishment" in its prisons, based on their continued incarceration in solitary confinement.
This is the first case of its kind in the USA and if won would have an impact beyond the Angola 3, changing the legal landscape – as currently extended solitary confinement in the USA is legal. There has already been more than 2 years of trial preparation and it is expected that the case could be heard this year. The case should attract significant interest from human rights NGOs as ultimately it challenges US prison practices with the USA constitution.