[Ppnews] Important Victory in the Angola 3 Case

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 10 16:03:36 EST 2006


November 9, 2006

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Angola 3,

With great joy, we can announce that we have just received an opinion 
from Commissioner Rachel Morgan of the 19th Judicial District Court 
in Baton Rouge recommending that Herman Wallace's 1974 murder 
conviction be reversed.  The opinion is the result of an evidentiary 
hearing held inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary on September 19, 
and gives us new hope that Herman, who is 65 years old and has now 
been in solitary confinement for 34 years, may soon win his 
freedom.  There are, however, still struggles ahead.

The Commissioner found that the prosecution violated Herman's due 
process rights by hiding from the jury and defense lawyers the fact 
that it had provided prison informant Hezekiah Brown, their key 
witness, with the promise of a pardon from a life sentence as well as 
a carton of cigarettes per week and a private room with a television 
on prison grounds.  Under the law, this constitutional violation 
requires that Herman's conviction for the 1972 murder of a 
correctional officer be overturned.  This case, like so many others, 
involves an incompetent and biased investigation focusing on innocent 
men and prosecutors who lied and cheated to win convictions.

We are still several steps away from this decision resulting in 
Herman's release.  The Commissioner's recommended ruling will now be 
presented to the district judge, who has the power to adopt it as is 
(which routinely happens), amend it, or order further hearings. We 
are hopeful, given the strength of Herman's case and the reasoning of 
the opinion, that the court will adopt the Commissioner's 
recommendation as it is written and overturn Herman's conviction.

If the court overturns Herman's conviction, it is likely that the 
Baton Rouge district attorney's office will appeal that decision to 
the Louisiana Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, a process that could 
take as long as two years.  It is also possible that the state could 
seek to retry Herman, but we would vigorously challenge a retrial at 
this late stage as a violation of Herman's constitutional 
rights.  Moreover, considering the weakness of the state's evidence, 
it is difficult to envision a retrial resulting in any verdict other 
than acquittal.

We spoke at length with Herman and his codefendant Albert Woodfox 
today.  They are both overjoyed.  Herman was able to personally 
notify several of his family members and friends, and he asked us to 
thank all of the dozens, if not hundreds, of people who have 
contributed to this cause over the years.  Albert is hopeful that 
success in Herman's case will help him, as he is just beginning the 
process of litigating a federal habeas corpus petition.

We still have a long way to go before Herman and Albert are freed. We 
will keep everyone informed of developments in the case. In the 
meantime, check out this new music video dedicated to the Angola 3 
case, produced by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics 
(<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByERaSXiGA),>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByERaSXiGA), 
and the AP article on the new decision, 
(<http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_Black_Panther_Case.html)>http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_Black_Panther_Case.html).

Best to all,

Nick Trenticosta and Scott Fleming
Attorneys for Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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