Examiner Gazette, February 24, 2016 – Albert Woodfox, Last of ‘Angola 3’ Prisoners, to Be Released

Posted February 24th, 2016.

Dora Pope | 24 February, 2016, 11:25

The deal with prosecutors came together on Thursday night, Woodfox’s attorney said.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court, however, overturned Brady’s ruling and set the stage for Friday’s third trial.

Wallace died in 2013 just days after he was released. He was released from prison in 2001 after 29 years.

Woodfox’s attorneys – who said that no forensic evidence links Woodfox or Wallace to the killing and that officials had plied inmates with incentives to testify – said the remaining witnesses in the case were all dead. She died while he was in prison, and Woodfox said he was not allowed to go to the funeral. “They were targeted for organizing against segregation, inhumane working conditions and the systemic rape and sexual slavery inflicted on many imprisoned at Angola”. Lastly, I thank William Sothern, Rob McDuff and my lawyers at Squire Patton Boggs and Sanford Heisler Kimpel for never giving up.

He said “although (he) was looking forward to proving (his) innocence at a new trial, concerns about (his) health…age, (and ability to survive), caused (him) to resolve this case now” by accepting a plea bargain. “I hope the events of today will bring closure to many”, he said.

Albert Woodfox raised his fist defiantly as he walked out of his prison gates after 43 years behind bars.

Woodfox’s two Angola 3 allies had already been released. His supporters contend that he was framed for the 1972 killing of the prison guard Brent Miller as revenge for his political activities.

Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, said the indefinite solitary confinement imposed on Mr Woodfox “clearly amounts to torture and it should be lifted immediately”. “We hope the Louisiana Department of Corrections will reform and greatly limit its use of solitary confinement as have an increasing number of jurisdictions around the country”.

Asked if he wished he acted differently in 1972, Woodfox said he did what he had to do to stay alive.

“I think he’s a better man than he was when he went to prison, simply because he’s an older man, a wiser man”, Herbert said.

Woodfox has been deprived of all meaningful human contact for more than four decades, during which time he was held in a six-by-nine-foot cell for 23 hours a day.

His lawyers released a statement from him saying he would now use his freedom to end solitary confinement as a practice around the world. But this belated measure of justice, on Woodfox’s 69th birthday, is something he has been seeking for more than half his life.

Woodfox and two other former Black Panther Party members became known as the “Angola Three” for their decades-long confinement in isolation at the Louisiana prison in Angola and others elsewhere. The plea is not an admission of guilt, but Landry stressed that it does result in a conviction.

Woodfox finally gained his release through a plea agreement with state prosecutors – who insisted he plead no contest to the manslaughter and an unrelated robbery charge. Woodfox was convicted of murdering Miller twice, but each time the guilty verdict was later overturned.

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