We are excited to announce the launching of the www.angola3news.com network of websites. This is an official project of the International Coalition to Free the
Several new art projects and exhibits focusing on the
The Case of the
(Photo of the Angola 3: left to right, Herman Wallace, Robert King, and Albert Woodfox)
37 years ago, deep in rural
Peaceful, non-violent protest in the form of hunger and work strikes organized by inmates, caught the attention of
In July 2008 a Federal Judge overturned Albert Woodfox's conviction after a Federal 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. Sadly, despite this powerful recommendation, Louisiana prosecutors maintain that Albert should remain in Angola for the rest of his life. Attorney General Buddy Caldwell responded by appealing to the US Fifth Circuit. In December, the Fifth Circuit granted Caldwell’s request to deny Woodfox bail, but indicated sympathy for the overturning of the conviction, writing: "We are not now convinced that the State has established a likelihood of success on the merits." On March 3, 2009, oral arguments were heard by appellate Judges Carolyn Dineen King, Carl E. Steart and Leslie H. Southwick, and a decision from them is now expected any month. If the three judge panel affirms the overturning of Woodfox’s conviction, the state will have 120 days to either accept the ruling or to retry Woodfox. The state has already vowed to retry him if necessary. If the Fifth Circuit rules for the state, Woodfox’s conviction will be reinstated.
Similarly, in November 2006, a State Judicial Commissioner took the rare step of issuing a 27-page report recommending the reversal of Herman Wallace's conviction because of new, compelling evidence exposing prosecutorial misconduct. After stalling for nearly a year, the local District Court issued a curt, two-sentence ruling rejecting the Commissioner's recommendation. In May 2008 the appellate court continued to ignore justice by refusing to hear the case in a 2-1 decision without any explanation. The one judge who dissented found the verdict should be overturned because Herman's constitutional rights were violated. The case is currently on appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court and a ruling is expected in coming months. If the appellate court agrees with the Commissioner's findings and reverses the conviction, and if the District Attorney of Baton Rouge can be convinced not to file new charges, Herman will, at long last, be a free man.
Despite a number of reforms achieved in the mid 70s in response to condemnations of the State of Louisiana's criminal justice system from all three branches of state government, many court officials have repeatedly refused to take a serious look at these cases, stubbornly sided with local prosecutors despite evidence of misconduct, and ignored constitutional safeguards requiring prison officials to hold meaningful, mandatory 90-day reviews to justify keeping inmates in solitary confinement for any extended period of time. Any month, a federal civil rights lawsuit goes to trial, detailing the decades of unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment endured by these innocent men.
During the last few years there have been many important stories about the
In March, 2008, NBC Nightly News interviewed Robert King about his time spent in continuous solitary confinement, and also featured an interview with the widow of slain prison guard, who now questions the convictions of Woodfox and Wallace, and told NBC that she supports a new investigation into the case: “What I want is justice. If these two men did not do this, I think they need to be out.”
In October, 2008, a Peabody Award-wining National Public Radio (NPR) series on the case reported directly from
In December, 2008, The Huffington Post featured two articles about the
The second Huffington Post article was written by Ira Glasser, who is the former Executive Director of the ACLU. Glasser criticized the behavior of Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, writing that following the October 2008 announcement that Woodfox’s niece had agreed to take him in if granted bail,
In March, 2009, Mother Jones published a long article by James Ridgeway, which was part of an entire Mother Jones series about the
In early May, 2009, Alternet released an article titled The Angola Three: Torture in Our Own Backyard, (translated into Spanish here) providing an overview of the case, as well as reviews of the new book From the Bottom of the Heap: The Autobiography of Robert Hillary King, and the new DVD The Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation. Later that month, a new interview with Robert King was also featured.
This month, the Why Am I Not Surprised? blog published an essay titled Black August and the Angola 3. One excerpt reads, "I've been talking with some VERY bright and VERY committed individuals connected to the campaign to free the last two members of the Angola 3, Albert ‘Shaka’ ‘Cinque’ Woodfox and Herman "Hooks" Wallace, who have now been held in solitary confinement here in Louisiana for more than 37 years -- for being Black Panthers. And I've begun to have phone conversations with Woodfox himself on a regular basis, as well."
Please Help Spread The Word!
Three court cases are now pending: the federal civil rights lawsuit at the US Middle District Court, Albert Woodfox’s appeal at the US Fifth Circuit, and Herman Wallace’s appeal at the State Supreme Court. At this pivotal time, the National Coalition to Free the
We are utilizing the resources of the internet to publicize the case of the
If you have advice about other websites we should consider networking at, or can help in any other way, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.