Monday, March 2, 2015

A3 Newsletter: Cautious Optimism as A3 Supporters Pack the Courtroom for Albert Woodfox

MEDIA COVERAGE:  The Advocate  II  Times-Picayune  II  Robert King on KPFK Radio


Judge Brady Gives One Week for Final Briefs in Albert's Fight for Bail --A Release Decision is Expected Soon Thereafter

As expected, arguments began by exploring whether the federal or state courts have jurisdiction of Albert's release and ended with a discussion about what bail for Albert may look like.

Though the Court has given both sides one additional week to sum up, we expect he should rule soon thereafter.  If he doesn't release Albert, the legal team is prepared to move his compelling case for bail to the state court.

Though the arguments were mostly procedural, the courtroom was overflowing with loving, dedicated supporters who stuck out the procedural delays to stand up for Albert and his long overdue freedom.  Thanks to all of you who continue to show up and tune in as he takes his final steps toward release.

We will update you as soon as we hear more.

Friday, February 27, 2015

A3 Newsletter: Bail Hearing for Albert Woodfox on Monday, March 2 --Come to Baton Rouge to Support Albert

MEDIA:  Judicial system's treatment of two Angola inmates resembles a lottery, by James Gill

We've just received word that Albert's bail hearing will proceed on Monday, March 2nd at 9:30am in Courtroom 6 of the US Middle District Court in Baton Rouge (777 Florida St.). Albert will be present; and though we know it is short notice, local supporters are urged to attend if at all possible.

If you have not yet done so, please sign the Amnesty International petition calling on Gov. Jindal to not oppose bail for Albert.



Albert Release Arguments Heat Up as Monday's Bail Hearing Approaches

48 hours ago the State submitted a written request for Federal District Court Judge James A. Brady to cancel Albert's Monday, March 2nd bail hearing on the grounds that his reindictment moves the question of release from federal to state jurisdiction.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

VIDEO: Citing '43 Years of Injustice,' Amnesty International interviews UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez about Albert Woodfox

Sign the new Amnesty petition to Gov. Jindal!



Amnesty International has just released a new video entitled "Free Albert Woodfox: 43 Years of Injustice," (on You Tube and Facebook) featuring an interview with Juan Mendez, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The video was made in support of Amnesty's new petition campaign focusing on Albert's pending application for release on bail.

In 2013, declaring that “Four decades in solitary confinement can only be described as torture,” Mendez called for Albert's immediate release from solitary confinement. Speaking about Albert in this new video, Juan Mendez says:

"Mr. Woodfox is spending his days in solitary confinement…His convictions have been reversed and the State is appealing them, so in fact he should be considered an innocent man until his guilt or innocence is resolved."

"There’s no question that his conditions inflict on him the kind of pain and suffering of a mental nature that is associated with torture and I think that should stop."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Louisiana Takes First Step to Retry Albert Woodfox --AG Caldwell Continues to Obstruct Justice But Albert Does Not Fear A Trial

UPDATE (Feb. 18): Until he knows if he will be released on bail, Albert is being held in isolation at West Feliciana Parish Detention Center, a small city jail with only a few dozen prisoners at any one time. His new mailing address at this facility is:

Albert Woodfox #72148
West Feliciana Parish Detention Center
PO Box 2727
St. Francisville, LA 70775




MEDIA COVERAGE:  James Gill, The Advocate

On February 11, the State of Louisiana took the first step toward a retrial and announced that a grand jury has re-indicted Albert a third time for the murder of Brent Miller.

Though we continue to hope that the State will stop wasting taxpayer money on the prosecution and torture of this innocent man, Albert looks forward to being able to prove to the world once and for all that he is innocent.

We will update you as more information becomes available, and in the meantime urge you to join over 16,000 people in the US alone (and thousands more abroad) in signing Amnesty's new petition calling for Albert's immediate release.

Amnesty USA Responds to the Indictment

In response to today's announcement of the indictment of Albert Woodfox, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:

"Attorney General Caldwell has made it clear that he is hell-bent on keeping Albert Woodfox behind bars-despite the fact that his conviction has been overturned three times, and an appeals court has affirmed that decision. He should stop pursuing a campaign of vengeance by trying to re-indict a man who has already spent more than four decades in cruel confinement, after a legal process tainted with flaws.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Please take action for Albert Woodfox: New Amnesty Intl. Petition to Gov. Jindal Calls for the State to Not Oppose Bail

We are excited to announce that Amnesty International has started a new petition in support of Albert Woodfox's February 6 bail request that he filed in response to the favorable Fifth Circuit Court ruling on February 3. The full text of an email sent out today by Amnesty, describing the campaign, is featured below.  

Please take action now!


Freedom is just around the corner

For more than four decades, Albert Woodfox has been held in solitary confinement: first in the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary (also known as Angola Prison) and later in David Wade Correctional Center.

Albert spends 23 hours a day isolated in a small cell - four steps long and three steps across - with no access to meaningful social interaction or rehabilitation.

Last Friday, Albert's legal team filed for bail. With your help, he could finally walk free.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Albert Woodfox Applies for Bail With Expedited Review --Freedom Is Just Around the Corner

MEDIA COVERAGE:  NOLA Times-Picayune

This afternoon Albert Woodfox's legal team submitted an application to US District Court Judge James A. Brady for release on bail with expedited review (View the court filing here).

This month marks 2 years since Albert's conviction was overturned for a third time based on a finding of racial discrimination in the selection of his grand jury foreperson, a decision now firmly upheld by a unanimous panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Though the Attorney General may continue to stand in the way of justice and appeal yet again to the US Supreme Court and/or attempt to retry him, Albert's attorneys argue that there is no legal or moral justification to hold him in prison any longer, nor any reason to believe the State of Louisiana could succeed in reconvicting him in a fair proceeding.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Good News! 5th Circuit Rejects AG Caldwell's Request for En Banc Hearing --Early Birthday Present for Albert

MEDIA COVERAGE:  Times-Picayune  II  The Advocate / Associated Press


Today the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the unanimous decision of their own three judge panel and denied Attorney General Buddy Caldwell's request for an "en banc" rehearing of Albert's case.  This was the State's last shot to reinstate Albert's third overturned conviction through the US Court of Appeals.

Though we expect they may continue to delay justice with a vain attempt to convince the US Supreme Court to undo decades of solidly established Constitutional law, Judge Brady's original February 2013 decision throwing out Albert's murder conviction stands stronger than ever before and it is now only a matter of time until the State is forced to either release or retry him.

In just over two weeks, on Thursday, February 19th, Albert will turn 68 years old.  Though there are still weeks and months yet to go before he is released, he has never been closer to freedom.

Please take a moment to send him a note letting him know that we will continue to fight every day until he is freed--this will be the last birthday he will spend in a solitary cell!

Write Albert:

Albert Woodfox #72148
David Wade Correctional Center
670 Bell Hill Road   
Homer, LA  71040

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Robert King in Sweden with Amnesty International for the release of a new song and music video about Albert Woodfox by Meja



Robert King of the Angola 3 is currently in Sweden supporting Amnesty International’s ongoing campaign to "Free Albert Woodfox" through the launch of a new song called Yellow Ribbon, written by the Swedish artist, Meja, with an accompanying music video featured above (view the press release here).

Meja's song Yellow Ribbon is helping to publicize Amnesty Sweden's online petition asking Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to stop impeding justice for Albert.

The A3 Coalition is also asking that you please support Amnesty's new petition to US Secretary of State John Kerry calling for US super-maximum security prisons to be opened up for UN scrutiny. Amnesty has just released a new interview with Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Humanist Sociologists Vote to Support the Release of Black Panther Activist Albert Woodfox

Featured below is the full text of a public statement just released by the Association for Humanist Sociology. For more information, contact: Kathleen Fitzgerald, AHS President, fitzy88so@gmail.com or Rebecca Hensley, AHS Secretary, luv2lurn@earthlink.net. The AHS website is www.ahssociology.org.

(PHOTO: Albert Woodfox billboard in Louisiana, April 2014)

Humanist Sociologists Vote to Support the Release of Black Panther Activist Albert Woodfox

January 6, 2015

The membership of the Association for Humanist Sociology, an organization dedicated to scholarship and action in the service of justice and peace, has voted to call for the immediate release of the last “Angola 3” prisoner, Albert Woodfox, from the Louisiana Department of Corrections where he has been held in solitary confinement for more than forty-two years for the murder of a prison guard in 1972, a deeply flawed conviction that has now been overturned three times.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A3 Newsletter: Give Albert Woodfox a Hug for the Holidays; Please Take Action!

(PHOTO: Albert Woodfox embraces Herman Wallace)

In Homer Louisiana, Albert Woodfox remains in his cell - 42 years in solitary and held under increasingly severe restrictions. From the unnecessary and extensive use of the black-box during transport, to the 'catch-22' system making it impossible for Albert to have contact visits, it appears that the response to his most recent court victory is to continue turning the screws ever tighter. 

Not surprisingly, the Louisiana Attorney General has filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court asking them to review their recent ruling that upheld a lower court's 2013 overturning of Albert's conviction. We anticipate a response from the Fifth Circuit in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, want to register our concern with the Louisiana Department of Corrections about the recent denial of contact visits to Albert, as explained further in the section below. We hope you'll join us in contacting the Department of Corrections to request that they apply their visitation policy fairly.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A3 Newsletter: Albert Woodfox's Overturned Conviction Upheld in Unanimous 5th Circuit Decision

MEDIA COVERAGE: Times Picayune (1, 2, 3, 4II  The Advocate  II  Democracy Now! (watch part two) II  The Guardian  II  Solitary Watch  II  Amnesty USA  II  Amnesty International  II Liberation News  II Telegraph UK  II  National Public Radio  II  ABA Journal  II  KNOE 8 / AP  II  Reuters  II  NY Times: 4 decades of solitary is "barbaric beyond measure"


We are thrilled and honored to announce that just hours ago, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Brady's 2013 ruling overturning Albert's conviction for a third time in a 3-0, unanimous decision (view a PDF of the official court ruling here).

Though the courts have finally ruled in the interest of justice, it may still be months or years before this innocent man is released from his solitary cell.

This is THE moment those of us whose lives have been touched by these men and this case over the years have been waiting for. This is the time when we must call upon the whole of our connections, creativity, and courage to call with one voice for the immediate, unequivocal release of Albert Woodfox from prison once and for all without delay.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A3 Newsletter: Albert Woodfox's Courtroom Battles Continue; Oct. 29 and Beyond

(PHOTO: A3 supporters gather in support of Albert Woodfox)

Please join us on the morning of Wednesday, October 29th, at the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit (600 Camp St.) in New Orleans for oral arguments about whether or not to uphold Judge Brady's January 2014 ruling that put an end to the invasive, dehumanizing strip and cavity searches Albert had been tortured by since May of 2013. 

As you may remember, this is the second of two outstanding appeals of rulings in A3's favor that have frozen progress towards the final trial prep stages of the decade long A3 civil case, which seeks to establish long term solitary as the unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment the A3 know it to be.

The cruel and rather perplexing irony of this corner of the civil case is that it was a lawsuit that Albert himself filed and won in 1978 that put an end to the demeaning practice for decades, until two months after his conviction was overturned for a 3rd time.  It was then that prison officials at David Wade Correctional Center, where he is currently being held, inexplicably began to again routinely strip and cavity search Albert every time he left or entered his cell, even if he was shackled and had no contact with anyone besides prison officials.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A3 Newsletter: One Year Later, Remember Herman, Free Albert! Oct. 4 Second Line in New Orleans (Oct.1, 2014)

That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we blacks are wise.
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.
--Langston Hughes,
Justice, 1923


Today marks one year since Herman's lifelong struggle for justice from the courts finally granted him a few days of freedom. Please join with us as we cry out in remembrance of Herman's life and legacy, and as we draw inspiration from his spirit to now fight even harder for Albert's release.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Terrorism, COINTELPRO, and the Black Panther Party --An interview with law professor Angela A. Allen-Bell



(PHOTO:  Angela A. Allen-Bell joins Amnesty International in support of the Angola 3 outside of the Louisiana State Capitol on April 17, 2012.)

Terrorism, COINTELPRO, and the Black Panther Party
--An interview with law professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

By Angola 3 News

This past July, students from Northwestern University’s Medill Justice Project visited the infamous Louisiana State Prison known as Angola. While there, students landed an impromptu interview with Warden Burl Cain, where they asked him about an inmate at Angola named Kenny ‘Zulu’ Whitmore, who has now been in solitary confinement for 28 consecutive years. This important interview was cited afterwards by Time Magazine in an article examining the impact of solitary confinement on prisoners’ health.

Zulu Whitmore is a member of the Angola Prison chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP) that was first started in the early 1970s by Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3. In reply to the students’ question about Whitmore, Cain cited his affiliation with the Angola BPP and expressed concern that Whitmore could spread his beliefs in the prison, sparking violence among inmates. “The Black Panther Party advocates violence and racism—I’m not going to let anybody walk around advocating violence and racism,” Cain said. At the time of publication, Whitmore remains in solitary confinement.

Burl Cain’s characterization of the BPP as “advocating violence and racism” is reminiscent of a deposition he gave on October 22, 2008, following Albert Woodfox’s second overturned conviction, where Cain cited Woodfox’s affiliation with the BPP as a primary reason for not removing him from solitary confinement. Asked what gave him “such concern” about Woodfox, Cain stated: “He wants to demonstrate. He wants to organize. He wants to be defiant.” Cain then stated that even if Woodfox were innocent of the murder, he would want to keep him in solitary, because “I still know he has a propensity for violence…he is still trying to practice Black Pantherism, and I still would not want him walking around my prison because he would organize the young new inmates.”

(PHOTO: Albert Woodfox, left, with Kenny 'Zulu' Whitmore, right, in 2009.)

The remarks by Burl Cain in 2008 and 2014 are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to misrepresenting the Black Panther Party. “Until history is accurately told, this type of misinformation will live on and we will all suffer as a result of it,” argues Southern University Law professor Angela A. Allen-Bell in the interview featured below. Her new article, published by the Journal of Law and Social Deviance, entitled “Activism Unshackled & Justice Unchained: A Call to Make a Human Right Out of One of the Most Calamitous Human Wrongs to Have Taken Place on American Soil,” turns the tables on the anti-BPP rhetoric by asking if what the BPP sustained at the hands of government officials is itself akin to domestic terrorism.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A3 Newsletter: How Long Can Injustice Endure? (Aug. 8, 2014)


Desmond Tutu says apartheid was such an injustice that it had to end. We wonder if the Palestinians in Gaza can have the same hope?

The Angola 3 have long stood in opposition to colonization, oppression and genocide internationally as well as here at home.  We painfully watch our US made F-16's dropping US made bombs on innocent civilians in an effort to drive the indigenous people from their land in spite of peace agreements and UN mandates.

We have to question not just the prison industrial complex that keeps Albert ridiculously isolated in the worst possible circumstances in spite of the fact that his conviction has been overturned three times.

An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.

The Angola 3 in the News:  Herman's House nominated for 2014 News & Documentary Emmy Award  II  Angela A Allen-Bell: ACTIVISM UNSHACKLED & JUSTICE UNCHAINED: A CALL TO MAKE A HUMAN RIGHT OUT OF ONE OF THE MOST CALAMITOUS HUMAN WRONGS TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE ON AMERICAN SOIL


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Panthers in the Hole: French Angola 3 Book Illustrates US Prison Crisis --An interview with Nicolas Krameyer of Amnesty International France

(You can buy Panthers in the Hole, the new graphic novel about the Angola 3 here.)



Panthers in the Hole: French Angola 3 Book Illustrates US Prison Crisis

--An interview with Nicolas Krameyer of Amnesty International France

By Angola 3 News

Amnesty International France and La Boîte à Bulles have published a 128-page French language graphic novel entitled Panthers in the Hole. The book's co-authors David Cénou and Bruno Cénou present with visual art what Amnesty France describes as "la tragique histoire des Trois d'Angola" (the tragic story of the Angola 3).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A3 Newsletter: Say NO to Another Supermax! (June 25, 2014)

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is organizing a national call-in day on Thursday, June 26 to stop the opening of another Supermax prison. We encourage A3 supporters to join us by taking action with NRCAT, whose call-in alert is featured below.

Grassroots Leadership Honors Robert King


This month, the board and staff of Grassroots Leadership, in North Carolina, spent the evening with Robert King of the Angola 3. Grassroots Leadership wrote afterwards: "We are so profoundly thankful for the opportunity to sit with King as he shared his experience as a political prisoner for 31 years, and to honor him for modeling resilience and hope in the service of social justice."

Read the complete report-back here.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A3 Newsletter: 42 Years and Still Waiting (June 18, 2014)

(New poster by artist César Maxit)

All eyes are on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals as we move into summer.

Most urgently of course, we wake up every day hopeful that the court will choose to affirm Judge Brady's ruling that overturned Albert's conviction for a third time. Although there is no way to know when they will rule, the average decision wait time is 10 months, so we expect word soon, and certainly by early fall.

Meanwhile, the landmark A3 civil case seeking to define long term solitary confinement as cruel and unusual punishment carries on through Robert and Albert since Herman's passing. Final preparation and definite trial dates for the civil case remain frozen pending resolution of two appeals the State has filed with the 5th Circuit contesting two of Judge Brady's recent decisions in A3's favor. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A3 Newsletter: Solitary Reflections Lead to Congressional Action (May 8, 2014)

RELATED:  Huffington Post  II  Amy Goodman's Truthdig column  II  Robert King in French News:  I Tele, RFI, and France TV (at 23:45)

(PHOTO: US Congressman Cedric Richmond)

The Solitary Study and Reform Act of 2014

Today we are thrilled to announce that U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond has introduced a simple but visionary piece of legislation that seeks to first study and then actively reform both the federal and state use of solitary confinement to ensure it is used effectively, infrequently, transparently, and Constitutionally.

The bill would establish a two-year bipartisan Commission tasked with exhaustively studying existing solitary confinement uses and impacts in the US, exploring best practices with experts, and then recommending a new national standard to be adopted by the US Attorney General no longer than 2 years after the Commission's findings are presented.