LOUISIANA- Amnesty International has called for the release of Louisiana inmate and Angola 3 member Albert Woodfox after a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday (Nov. 20) in Woodfox’s favor. The major human right organization, stated in a press release Friday (Nov. 21) that Woodfox spending over forty years in solitary confinement, “raises serious human rights concerns.” The decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s ruling that overturned Woodfox’s conviction of murder in 1972 of an Angola guard.
According to court documents, a three judge panel all agreed that Woodfox did not receive a fair trial in 1998 when his case was tried a second time do to racial discrimination in the selection of a grand jury foreperson. “It is time for Albert Woodfox to walk free, and it is unconscionable to hold him for a single day longer, “said Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaiger at Amnesty International USA. “The Fifth Circuit’s ruling in Albert’s favor only adds more weight to our call on the State of Louisiana to stop standing in the way of Albert Woodfox’s freedom.” According to Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, his office plans to put up a fight to prevent Woodfox from being released. Caldwell statement below:
“While we are still reviewing the 5th Circuit’s opinion to determine the appropriate action, the important thing to note is that this decision in no way exonerates Albert Woodfox in the brutal 1972 murder of Angola Correctional Officer Brent Miller.
The Appeals Court decision focused on a technicality with the grand jury selection process from as far back as 30 years ago. No court decision, including this one, has ever made a finding which disputes the fact that Albert Woodfox murdered Brent Miller at Angola in 1972. Those facts will always remain true.
We respectfully disagree with the Court’s ruling, and remain committed to seeing that the trial jury’s judgment finding Albert Woodfox guilty of murdering Officer Brent Miller is upheld.”
Woodfox 67, is the only member of the Angola 3 still behind bars. Angola 3 was derive from a group of supporters who believed that Woodfox and two other prisoners were wrongfully convicted of prison murders for the sole purpose of silencing their activism. The International Coalition to Free the Angola Three is convinced that the men were targeted due to their formation of the Black Panther Party chapter inside the prison.
www.amnestyinternational.com Retrieved on November 22, 2014
www.nola.com Retrieved on November 22,2014