[Ppnews] Angola 3 - Reform, Bobby Jindal Style

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 17 14:51:45 EST 2008

Bobby Jindal Style


<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-rucker>James Rucker

Posted December 17, 2008 | 11:55 AM (EST)

We may be on the brink of inaugurating a Black 
president, but the miscarriage of justice 
unfolding in Louisiana with the case of the 
Angola 3 tells a different story about race, 
power and accountability in our criminal justice 
system. At the top of the food chain is 
self-styled reformer and the GOP's supposed 
answer to Obama, 
Bobby Jindal.

Albert Woodfox has spent the last 36 years in 
solitary confinement -- 23 out of 24 hours each 
day in a 6×9 cell -- for the murder of a white 
prison guard, a crime 
didn't commit.

Despite increasing evidence of Woodfox's 
innocence, the State of Louisiana is digging in 
its heels. They've pushed back against a federal 
judge who has overturned Woodfox's conviction and 
ordered his release. The reason is becoming 
crystal clear: It's not because they believe that 
Woodfox or the other two people referred to as 
the "Angola 3" murdered anyone. It's because the 
three men were organizing within the prison for 
better conditions, an end to sexual abuses, and 
the fair treatment of inmates. Apparently, in 
Louisiana, seeking justice means you deserve to 
be framed for murder and locked away forever.

James "Buddy" Caldwell, the state's Attorney 
General, has led the state's fight and Burl Cain, 
the warden at Angola, is acting as Caldwell's 
henchman. Ultimately, it's Governor Bobby Jindal 
who is giving them cover despite being presented 
with all the facts and being asked repeatedly to 
intervene. So much for the promise of Jindal and 
his self-description as a "reformer."

A look at recent proceedings shows that the 
desire to keep Woodfox behind bars has nothing to 
do with whether Woodfox is guilty or innocent. 
Cain has made it clear that he doesn't care. Cain 
wants him behind bars for no reason other than 
the fact that Woodfox has been a force for reform 
from within the prison walls. Says Cain, "The 
thing about him is that he wants to demonstrate. 
He wants to organize. He wants to be defiant." 
Cain has said that even if he knew Woodfox hadn't 
killed the guard, 
would still want the man isolated. "I still would 
not want him walking around my prison because he 
would organize the young new inmates," Cain said. 
It's not that Woodfox is dangerous. It's that he 
is unrepentant in organizing inmates to achieve a 
basic sense of decency and livable conditions.

Several months before Judge James Brady 
overturned Woodfox's conviction, more than 25,000 
ColorOfChange.org members 
to Governor Jindal to get involved. The head of 
the state legislature's judiciary committee, 
Cedric Richmond, 
the petitions to Governor Jindal and requested he 
intervene. Around the same time, Congressman John 
Conyers, chair of the House of Representatives 
Judiciary Committee, met with both Woodfox and 
Herman Wallace (one of the other Angola 3) and 
called for intervention. Jindal's response has been utter silence.

In recent weeks, as pressure has mounted for 
Woodfox to be released, Caldwell, the Attorney 
General, has gone deeper in attempting to 
demonize Woodfox. He has taken to 
referring to Woodfox as a "serial rapist," a 
completely unsubstantiated claim. Once bail was 
ordered and it was expected that Woodfox would be 
released, Caldwell's office clandestinely 
members of the gated community where Woodfox was 
supposed to live, telling them that a murderer 
would soon be living among them. Woodfox had been 
planning to live with his niece. She and her 
family have now been subject to harassment, and 
the option of Woodfox living with her has been made virtually impossible.

We've seen unequal and unfair justice before in 
Louisiana. We can just look back at 
case of the Jena 6 a year and a half ago. In that 
case, six black boys were charged with 
second-degree murder at the hands of a District 
Attorney who threatened that he could "take away 
[the students'] lives with a stroke of [his] 
pen." The threat followed black students 
protesting the hanging of a noose above a "white 
tree" at their school, with the charges coming 
after a racially-charged fight characterized by 
some as a school-yard fight, where the victim was white.

In the case of the Jena 6, there was an outcry 
from across the country, culminating in a march 
of more than 20,000 in the town of Jena. While 
leaders across the country decried the injustice 
in Jena, surprisingly, Jindal called those 
agitators" -- a phrase that echoed racist 
Southerners' response to Civil Rights-era organizing efforts.

While Governor Jindal claims to be a reformer and 
has his eyes on the White House, his silence in 
the Angola 3 case and his language around the 
case of the Jena 6 tell 
different story. His idea of "reform" seems more 
like an empty slogan and catchy rhetoric than 
something he's willing to put into practice. 
Perhaps it's time to confront Jindal and ask him 
what his idea of reform looks like.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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