Controversy arises over the potential release of Albert Woodfox.
Woodfox is the last imprisoned member of a group called the “Angola 3”. The group was comprised of three prisoners accused of murdering Brent Miller – a guard at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in 1972.
Albert was originally imprisoned after an armed robbery conviction but has spent more than forty years in solitary confinement because of the murder allegations. Allegations he claims have no truth. Last year a federal appeals court overturned the conviction but he’s been awaiting the third trial ever since.
Herman Wallace and Robert King are the two other members of the Angola 3. King was freed in 2001 after his murder convictions were overturned.
Wallace was freed in 2013 when a judge vacated his murder conviction. He had terminal liver cancer and after only a few days of freedom, he passed away.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge James J. Brady ruled that the Albert Woodfox (68) should not have to wait to face a third trial. He determined that because there are “exceptional circumstances” Woodfox should be released. Woodfox’s old age, poor health and the fact that Brady doesn’t believe the court could provide a “fair third trial” are all factors that required consideration.
Amnesty International admired the judges decision and declared it a “momentous step toward justice”. Jasmine Heiss, senior campaigner for Amnesty, said:
“Woodfox has spent 43 years trapped in a legal process riddled with flaws. The only humane action that the Louisiana authorities can take now is to ensure his immediate release.”
However not everyone is in agreement with Brady’s choice. And the thought of Woodfox being released has left some people’s heads spinning.
Spokes person for the Louisiana Department of Justice said that he’s in prison and “that’s where he should stay”.
Aaron Sadler said that “with today’s order, the court would see fit to set free a twice-convicted murderer who is awaiting trial again for the brutal slaying of Corrections Officer Brent Miller.”
An emergency stay to counter Brady’s choice is being sought after by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. They want to ensure that Woodfox “stays in prison and remains fully accountable for his actions.”
Over four decades in solitary confinement and there’s finally a tiny crack to maybe see some light at the end of the tunnel.