Thursday, February 26, 2009

Free The Angola 3--Bring Political Prisoners Woodfox and Wallace Home Now!


Sign the petition

Lets make the Angola 3 household names!

Albert Woodfox, political prisoner of the Angola 3, needs your support. In July 2008 a Federal Judge (Brady) overturned Albert Woodfox's conviction after a State Judicial Magistrate found his trial was unfair due to inadequate representation, prosecutorial misconduct, suppression of exculpatory evidence, and racial discrimination in the grand jury selection process.

The State appealed this decision to the 5th Circuit Court of appeals and March 3rd are the oral arguments for that appeal.

36 years ago, deep in rural Louisiana, three young black men were silenced for trying to expose continued segregation, systematic corruption, and horrific abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an 18,000-acre former slave plantation called Angola.

Peaceful, non-violent protest in the form of hunger and work strikes organized by inmates, caught the attention of Louisiana's first black elected legislators and local media in the early 1970s. State legislative leaders, along with the administration of a newly-elected, reform-minded governor, called for investigations into a host of unconstitutional practices and the extraordinarily cruel and unusual treatment commonplace in the prison.

In 1972 and 1973 prison officials, determined to put an end to outside scrutiny, charged Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King with murders they did not commit and threw them into 6x9 foot cells in solitary confinement, for nearly 36 years. Robert was freed in 2001, but Herman and Albert remain behind bars.

The oral arguments on March 3 are a very short and formal process. Albert's attorneys will explain to the court why Judge Brady did the right thing, and the State will try to argue he made a mistake in overturning the conviction. Each side will argue for 20 min and then the court will take anywhere from 1-6 months to issue their decision.

If the 5th Circuit agrees with Albert's attorneys and upholds Judge Brady's ruling, then the State has 120 days to either retry or release Albert. They have already vowed to retry him. If the 5th Circuit agrees with the State, then the conviction is reinstated and Albert would have to start the appeals process all over again with a different claim if he wants to try to gain his freedom.

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