Thursday, November 19, 2015

Amnesty Intl. USA's "Write for Rights" campaign focuses on Albert Woodfox, calling for his immediate release

 (Amnesty International artwork)

Today, in conjunction with the "Write for Rights" campaign, Amnesty International USA issued an email action alert focusing on Albert Woodfox, where Amnesty reiterated the organization's call for Albert's immediate release.

Along with urging supporters to add their name to Amnesty's online petition to Louisiana Attorney General James Caldwell, Amnesty is also asking people to write letters to both AG Caldwell and to Albert, with a sample letter and other information available here.

On November 7, a protest march in support of Albert was held in London, England. The following week, following the US Fifth Circuit Court's ruling that Albert can face a third trial, both Amnesty USA and UK issued responses.

Featured below and reprinted in full, is today's email alert sent out by Amnesty USA Senior Campaigner Jasmine Heiss:

There is no other way to describe what's happening to Albert Woodfox - he is trapped in a nightmare.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A3 Newsletter: Court Rules Albert Woodfox Can Be Retried a Third Time

MEDIA COVERAGE:  Esquire: "The Absurdity of Retrial"  II  Washington Post  II  NY Times  II  The Independent (UK)  II  The Guardian (UK)  II  Amnesty Intl. UK  II  Amnesty Intl. USA  II  The Advocate  II  teleSUR English  II  Boston Globe / AP  II  VICE  II  Mother Jones  II  Brennan Center: Will Justice Kennedy Save Albert Woodfox?

PHOTO:  A 'cardboard cutout' of Albert Woodfox is displayed in downtown London, England during a November 7 protest march organized by Amnesty International UK. If you have not yet done so, please take action by joining Amnesty's call to "Free Albert Woodfox!"

US 5th Circuit Court Reverses Judge Brady in Bitterly Divided 2-1 Decision

Like Albert, many of you probably awoke to the news that yesterday evening a bitterly divided panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Brady's June 8th unconditional Writ ordering his release and barring a retrial.

Albert's conviction will remain overturned, but there is no longer any doubt that he will be retried a third time by the State of Louisiana, only miles from the solitary cell where he's spent the bulk of his life.

In a stunning dissent, printed in its entirety below, Judge James Dennis passionately argued against the majority for Albert's freedom--sharing both Judge Brady's view of the exceptional injustice represented by this case and his "lack of confidence in the State to provide a fair third trial."

Monday, September 21, 2015

Reportback on Albert Woodfox's Hearing Today in Louisiana State Court, w/ Amnesty International USA Statement

MEDIA COVERAGE:  NOLA Times-Picayune Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 (also before the hearing)  II  ABA Journal  II  Common Dreams  II  KSL / AP  II  ABC / AP  II  Truthout on Herman's House

A3 Newsletter: Judge Rules for DNA Testing and Fingerprint Analysis but Against the Change of Venue and Dismissing the Case

This morning in St. Francisville Judge Carmichael of West Feliciana Parish's 20th Judicial District Court made the first determinations about what the legal landscape will look like if Judge Brady's "unconditional Writ" is overturned and Albert faces a third trial.  

The good news is that the judge agreed to require a unanimous jury decision, to allow DNA testing of all evidence still in the State's possession that may contain adequate sample sizes for modern analysis, and to give Albert's defense team access to any fingerprint files the State possesses from Angola at the time of the murder.  He also agreed to give Albert's defense team a chance to privately review (under seal) letters from the latest grand jury foreperson expressing "serious misgivings" about the "process" in order to assess whether or not the most recent indictment itself, hastily obtained in February of 2015 before the federal appeals process had fully played out, may have once again been improperly obtained. 

Overall though, it was not a good day for Albert, or for justice, in St. Francisville.  In a curt, 45 minute hearing (originally scheduled for two full days) the judge rejected a solid majority of Albert's 16 pre-trial motions designed to create a fair evidentiary and procedural playing field for any potential retrial.  Albert's motion to quash, change the venue, and run the print evidence through the FBI's expanded AFIS database were all quite unceremoniously denied.  Critically, so were Albert's requests to exclude all the now impeached, debunked, and discredited testimony presented at previous trials by Hezekiah Brown and the State's other key witnesses.  Though Albert will be allowed to present impeachment evidence to a new jury, the jurors will never able to see how these now deceased witnesses respond and react on the stand when confronted with their own lies, obfuscations, and omissions from previous testimony.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A3 Newsletter: Albert Woodfox Takes First Steps Towards Retrial in State Court on Sept. 21 in St. Francisville, LA

A3 Newsletter: A Third Chance for Justice in State Court - The Critical Importance of Setting the Right Evidentiary and Procedural Scene for a Fair Retrial

Though it is an incredibly unusual, and often confusing situation, the legal reality is that Albert is fighting for permanent, unconditional release concurrently on two separate legal tracks - one in federal and the other in state court.  As we all wait to hear whether the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold federal Judge Brady's June 8th "unconditional Writ," a third attempt to prosecute Albert in state court for the crime he continues to maintain he's innocent of is already, simultaneously, underway.

Next Monday, September 21st at 9:30am at the Courthouse in St. Francisville, the state court track will take a huge leap forward as Judge Carmichael of West Feliciana Parish's 20th Judicial District Court decides what a new playing field will look like after each side presents what they believe to be the key ingredients needed to ensure a just potential third trial.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reportback on Albert Woodfox's Sept. 2 Oral Arguments at US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

IN THE NEWS:  NOLA Times Picayune (1, 2) II  The Advocate  II  Shreveport Times  II  ABC / AP  II  WRAL / AP   II  Toronto Sun / Reuters  II  Second Reuters article

(PHOTO: A3 supporters outside of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this morning at Albert Woodfox's oral arguments. Big Thanks to everyone that made it out!!)

This morning, Amnesty International USA released the following statement, reprinted in full.

Please check back here for more updates later in the day. See also our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Amnesty International USA Statement on Ongoing Incarceration of Albert Woodfox

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans heard oral argument in Albert Woodfox vs. Burl Cain. A three-judge panel will decide whether Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox should be granted unconditional release or face a third trial after spending more than four decades in solitary confinement. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A3 Newsletter: Join Us in New Orleans on Sept. 2nd for Albert Woodfox's Appeal Hearing

(PHOTO: A3 supporters gathered outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans at one of Albert's previous hearings, on Jan. 7, 2014.)

After a summer of back and forth briefing on paper, on Wednesday morning, September 2nd, in the East Courtroom a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear oral arguments on whether Federal Judge James Brady's June 8th "unconditional writ" officially overturning Albert's conviction, ordering his release, and barring a retrial (a ruling he presented as "the only just remedy") will stand.

As usual, the public is welcome to attend.  Though we don't know for sure what time our case will be heard, doors open at 8am and court convenes at 8:30am. Arguments are expected to be short (usually each side only gets about 45 minutes) and for those unable to attend audio recordings are posted on the 5th's website by close of business that same day.

A decision from that Court is expected sometime later this fall.  If Judge Brady's ruling is upheld, Albert will be released and a retrial banned.  If reversed, the Fifth Circuit does not have the power to reinstate Albert's overturned conviction, but can put limits on the terms of Judge Brady's Writ and release order.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Photos of new Albert Woodfox mural in New Orleans by artist B-Mike w/ Amnesty Intl. USA

Featured below are photos of the new Albert Woodfox mural in New Orleans, Louisiana, painted by artist Brandan "B-Mike" Odums in conjunction with Amnesty International USA (sign Amnesty's ongoing petition for Albert here). The photos below are taken by Amnesty USA and the A3 Coalition.

Read the July 3 NOLA Times Picayune article to learn more about the mural and to view more photos.

This first photo is of Michael Mable, brother of Albert Woodfox, standing in front of the mural.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A3 Newsletter: The Beat Goes On

Healing Our Wounds: Restorative Justice Is Needed For Albert Woodfox, The Black Panther Party & The Nation  --Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell interviewed by Angola 3 News

On Monday, June 8, 2015, US District Court Judge James Brady ruled that the Angola 3's Albert Woodfox be both immediately released and barred from a retrial. The next day, at the request of the Louisiana Attorney General, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay of release set to expire on Friday, June 12.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Healing Our Wounds: Restorative Justice Is Needed For Albert Woodfox, The Black Panther Party & The Nation --An Interview With Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

(VIDEO: Prof. Bell interviewed by Sky News, following Judge Brady's ruling to immediately release Albert Woodfox. A stay on his release was ordered later that day by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Also be sure to watch her June 12 appearance on MSNBC's News Nation with Tamron Hall)

Healing Our Wounds: Restorative Justice Is Needed For Albert Woodfox, The Black Panther Party & The Nation
--An Interview With Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

By Angola 3 News

On Monday, June 8, 2015, US District Court Judge James Brady ruled that the Angola 3's Albert Woodfox be both immediately released and barred from a retrial. The next day, at the request of the Louisiana Attorney General, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay of release set to expire on Friday, June 12.

As the week intensified following Judge Brady's ruling, both Albert Woodfox and his family, friends & supporters wondered if he would finally be released over 43 years after first being placed in solitary confinement. Amnesty International USA launched a petition calling on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to honor Judge Brady's ruling.  

On June 9, US Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-02) issued a statement declaring that "Attorney General Caldwell must respect the ruling of Judge Brady and grant Mr. Woodfox his release immediately...This is an obviously personal vendetta and has been a waste of tax payer dollars for decades. The state is making major cuts in education and healthcare but he has spent millions of dollars on this frivolous endeavor and the price tag is increasing by the day." 

On June 11, eighteen members of the Louisiana House of Representatives voted unsuccessfully to pass a resolution (H.R. 208) urging Attorney General Caldwell to stop standing in the way of justice, withdraw his appeals, and let Judge Brady's unconditional writ and release ruling stand.

However, on Friday, June 12, the Court responded by scheduling oral arguments for late August and extending the stay of release at least until the time that the Court issues its ruling later in the Fall.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Albert Will Remain Behind Bars Pending Appeal --Justice Delayed is Justice Denied, But Not Forever (A3 Newsletter)

MEDIA COVERAGE:  NOLA Times-Picayune  II  New Yorker  II  NPR interviews Prof Angela A. Allen-Bell  II  Hollywood Progressive: New A3 Feature Film  II  Huffington Post  II  CTV (Canada) / AP  II  Atlanta Black Star  II  Live Science 

We are sad to report that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to continue the stay and block the release of Albert Woodfox until the State's appeal is heard (read articles by The Advocate and Washington Post).

Though it means some months before Albert will see his long overdue freedom realized, the court has granted an "expedited" status for the appeal. Oral Arguments are set for the week of August 31st. The State's written argument as to why they believe Judge Brady's order should be overturned is due on July 10th. Then Albert's team has three weeks to respond before the State is allowed a final rebuttal on August 7th.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A3 Newsletter: The Eve of Freedom?

(Artwork by Rigo 23)

As we all wait anxiously for what tomorrow may bring, we thought like us, you may want to immerse yourself in some of the most powerful shows of support for Albert from around the world that have emerged in the last few extraordinary days since Judge Brady's heroic ruling.

An article written today by the Associated Press and featured by the New York Times asks: What Has Louisiana Got on the Last of the Angola Three?  Answering their own question, the AP / NY Times writes: "Woodfox's long-simmering story has been the subject of documentaries, Peabody Award winning journalism, United Nations human rights reviews and even a theatrical play. It's a staggering tale of inconsistencies, witness recants, rigged jury pools, out-of-control prison violence, racial prejudice and political intrigue."

Take Action with Amnesty International! Act quickly: Albert Woodfox’s fate could be decided TOMORROW

Featured below, reprinted in full, is a new Amnesty International action alert for Albert Woodfox.

Please Take Action Here!

On Monday night, I heard news almost too incredible to believe: After four decades of hellish isolation, a federal judge ordered that Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox finally be unconditionally released and never re-tried by the State of Louisiana. After so many years in solitary confinement, Albert was set to walk free.

It marked the most promising development to date in Albert's case.

A Visit This Week With Albert Woodfox: "They Call Me The Last Man Standing"

June 19, 2015 Update: Read the follow-up article by the same author about her most recent visit with Albert

(This touching essay detailing a visit this week with Albert Woodfox is reprinted in full from the Why Am I Not Suprised? Blog.)

(PHOTO: Author with Albert Woodfox from a previous visit)

Albert Woodfox "They Call Me The Last Man Standing"

Five years and eleven months ago yesterday, I first laid eyes on Albert Woodfox. He was still in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola then, where he had been locked up in solitary confinement almost continually since April of 1972. I had been a prison abolitionist myself for thirty-eight years at that point, so it was not surprising that we found each other. Despite the 6 X 9 foot cell in which he had been held so long, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people around the world had already found him before me. But unknown to him, when he turned 62 in February, 2009, I threw him a birthday party and invited students on the Louisiana university campus where I teach to come.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fifth Circuit Issues Temporary Stay of Judge Brady's Ruling to Release Albert Woodfox

MEDIA COVERAGE:   NY Times Editorial and In-Depth Article  II  Times-Picayune  II  The Independent UK  II  NPR   II  FOX News  II  The American Lawyer  II  Daily Mail UK  II  El Paso Times / AP  II  Washington Post  II  CNN  II  Agence France-Presse  II  Democracy Now!  II  The Root   II  ABC News / AP

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has just issued a temporary stay of Judge Brady's order to give Albert's attorneys time to respond to the appeal.

Though there will be no freedom for Albert tonight, we remain confident that Judge Brady's ruling is rooted in strong legal precedent and that justice will finally prevail for Albert sooner than later.

We will do our best to keep you updated as things develop.

Monday, June 8, 2015

BREAKING!: Judge Brady orders Albert Woodfox's Unconditional Release & Retrial Banned!! (Stay Tuned for Updates)

MEDIA COVERAGE:  CNN  II   Los Angeles Times  II  Times-Picayune  II  NY Times / AP & Toronto Star  II  Spiegel Online  II  BBC  II  Guardian UK  II  Amnesty International USA   II  Christian Science Monitor  II 

We are ecstatic to announce that late this afternoon Judge Brady granted the unicorn of habeas rulings--an "unconditional writ" ordering Albert's immediate release and barring a retrial.
He argues that this extraordinary remedy is merited due to the following 5 factors: "Mr. Woodfox's age and poor health, his limited ability to present a defense at a third trial in light of the unavailability of witnesses, this Court's lack of confidence in the State to provide a fair third trial, the prejudice done onto Mr. Woodfox by spending over forty-years in solitary confinement, and finally the very fact that Mr. Woodfox has already been tried twice and would otherwise face his third trial for a crime that occurred over forty years ago."

Friday, April 17, 2015

(A3 Newsletter) The Waiting Game: 43 Years of Innocence; Still Incarcerated; Still Isolated

(PHOTO: Albert Woodfox in 1998)

Today marks 43 years since Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace were first placed in solitary confinement for a crime they didn't commit. We now await a decision from Federal Judge James Brady regarding Albert's request for bail, expected any week.

Featured below are messages from both Albert and Robert King. New artwork by longtime A3 supporter Rigo 23 is displayed alongside a poem written by Albert back in 1998 entitled I Wait. Who could have imagined that 17 years later, in 2015, he would still be in solitary confinement, still waiting for justice?

If you have not yet done so, please sign the Amnesty USA petition calling on Louisiana authorities to not oppose bail for Albert!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A3 Newsletter: Baton Rouge Prayer Vigil on April 12 Marks the 43rd Year of Albert Woodfox's Solitary Nightmare

At 2PM on Sunday, April 12, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Reverend Dr. Patricia T. Bates will be hosting a prayer vigil to mark Albert Woodfox's 43rd year in solitary confinement. Reverend Bates will be joined by Michael Mable, brother of Albert Woodfox, who will be speaking about how this injustice affects families.

Sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Sunday's vigil will be held at the Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 544 Government Street, Baton Rouge LA.

If you do not live in or around Baton Rouge and therefore cannot make it to the vigil, please send Albert a postcard in solidarity. Let him know that he is in your thoughts, that you care about him and that A3 supporters outside the prison walls are still here fighting for his immediate release.

Write Albert:

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mumia Abu-Jamal in Medical Crisis --Several Ways to Take Action in Support!

Below is an update about Mumia Abu-Jamal's continuing emergency medical crisis, released by Johanna Fernandez from the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home. For the latest news, visit Prison Radio (on Twitter) and Bring Mumia Home (on Twitter)

RELATED:  Support Independent Medical Care for Mumia  II  Linn Washington Jr: Mumia's Specialized Mistreatment  II  Mumia Moved Back to SCI Mahoney's prison infirmary  II  NY Amsterdam News: 'Mumia is in Pain,' his son says  II  This Can't Be Happening: Execution by medical neglect? Pennsylvania’s Prison System is Torturing Mumia Abu-Jamal and his Family Too

MUMIA UPDATE:  April 7, 2015

Mumia is in very poor health and has been back in the prison infirmary since Wednesday, April 2, 2015.  His transfer back to the prison is an attempt to sever Mumia from the widespread attention this recent crisis has garnered in the media. It was also an attempt to shut down the movement’s vigil at the hospital. 

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.