Governor Bobby Jindal
Office of the Governor of Louisiana
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9004
On June 8, 2015 a federal judge granted Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox an unconditional release. No other prisoner in the U.S has been held in solitary confinement longer than Albert Woodfox.
Albert Woodfox’s conviction for the murder of a prison guard had already been overturned numerous times – by a U.S. District Judge, and three U.S. Federal Appeal Judges from the 5th Circuit – yet the state of Louisiana has continued to appeal the decision[s].
As a result, Albert Woodfox is still behind bars after spending nearly four decades in cruel, unjust solitary confinement. He believes that he and fellow prisoners, Herman Wallace and Robert King, were first placed in solitary confinement in retaliation for their activism. All three men were members of the Black Panther Party. Together, they came to be known as the Angola 3.
To date, Robert King’s conviction was overturned and he was released in 2001, while Herman Wallace suffering from an advance stage of liver cancer was released in 2013. He died a free man, three days later. Now the only member of the Angola 3, only Albert Woodfox remains imprisoned.
For more almost forty years, Albert Woodfox has been locked away twenty-three hours a day isolated in a small cell, four paces long, three paces across. Three times a week for exercise in an outdoor cage, weather permitting. A few hours every week to shower or simply walk. Rare, fleeting human contact with prison guards, let alone with family, no human being deserves this.
It has been argued and proven that Albert Woodfox’s conviction was gained through two flawed trials. Subsequently, the conviction has been overturned three times in legal proceedings that have spanned over four decades. As you now, having viewed the evidence, U.S. District Judge James Brady ordered Albert Woodfox’s immediate release.
One would hope that this will be the final word in a legal process that has spanned four decades. Were it not for the Louisiana Attorney General’s attempts to pursue vengeance, Albert Woodfox would already be a free man. However, the State has spent valuable resources appealing each court ruling in his favor. It is unconscionable now, after the latest unanimous ruling by three federal appeals judges from the 5th Circuit, for the State to continue to block Albert Woodfox’s release.
It is time for the State of Louisiana to stop standing in the way of justice. I therefore call on you, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to ensure Albert’s cruel and unjust confinement is not part of your legacy. I am writing to you with a simple ask – please ensure that the Louisiana authorities stop opposing prisoner Albert Woodfox’s release.
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