Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Report from Albert Woodfox's Evidentiary Hearing

Media Coverage:  KBOO Radio interviews law professor Angela A. Allen-Bell and Everett R. H. Thompson of Amnesty International  II  Torture at Our Expense, by Parnell Herber, New Orleans Tribune

DAY THREE: Thursday, May 31

Today Albert Woodfox's three day hearing seeking to overturn his conviction based on discrimination of the grand jury foreperson during his 1998 retrial came to a close.  Each side was asked by the Judge to submit a final brief on the matter 21 days after the transcript of the hearing is made available (which should take about 3 weeks), and a final rebuttal to those briefs 20 days after that.  The matter is then completely in the hands of Judge Brady, who is expected to make a decision by the end of 2012.

Thanks to all the supporters who packed the courtroom day after day for this crucial proceeding.  Hopefully coming months will finally bring long overdue justice for Albert.

DAY TWO: Wednesday, May 30

Midday the State rested their case, and both sides requested that the judge rule that the other had not met their burden and end the proceedings then and there.  To avoid another delay in the proceedings for him to consider these motions, Judge Brady instead asked Albert's legal team to proceed with the presentation of their case for the record while everyone was already assembled and promised to decide the pending motions sometime later.

Albert's first expert witness was Dr. Marx, a statistician with a mountain of unimpeachable credentials who very artfully and clearly explained the heart of why the State's numbers don't show discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson but Albert's do.  The different results stem from a fundamental disagreement about not just the methodology and methods, but the very population to be examined in the first place.

The baseline group the State is using to calculate whether there was discrimination in the selection of the grand jury by race is based on broad census numbers of eligible voters, minus illiterates, but without adjusting for any of the other many factors used to qualify and seat voters for jury duty.  In contrast, Albert's expert relied upon the actual numbers of people who were called and found willing and able to serve as jurors as his base data pool for analysis.  He made a credible and compelling argument that this more exact, case specific base number provided the only accurate, reliable result and demonstrated a strong, statistically significant pattern of racial discrimination in the selection of the forepersons in West Feliciana during the time of Albert's retrial that simply cannot be explained by chance.

Testimony continues tomorrow as the third and final day of Albert's third bid for freedom continues.

DAY ONE: Tuesday, May 29

Today the State set out to disprove the notion that there was any statistically significant, intentional discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson.  All three State witnesses:  a mathematician, a judge, and a demographics expert, saw their offerings almost surgically diminished and dismantled by Albert's expert defense.  By the end of the day, the bulk of their testimony was either contradicted or ruled inadmissible or irrelevant and there was some question as to whether to recognize the demographics professor as an "expert" at all.  Tomorrow promises more of the same as witness by witness Albert fights for justice, and his freedom. Stay tuned.

Read more about Albert's hearing here.

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