[Ppnews] Angola 3 Appeal Denied

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Oct 10 00:19:46 EDT 2009

Mother Jones

<file:////mojo/2009/10/angola-3-appeal-denied>Angola 3 Appeal Denied

­ By <file:////authors/james-ridgeway>James 
Ridgeway | Fri October 9, 2009 7:25 PM PST

The Louisiana State Supreme Court Friday denied 
an appeal from Herman Wallace, who has been held 
in solitary confinement for more than 37 years. 
Wallace and Albert Woodfox are members of what 
has become known as the Angola 3, whose story has 
extensively by 
Jones. Convicted of the 1972 murder of a prison 
guard at the notorious Louisiana State 
Penitentiary at Angola, both men maintain their 
innocence; they believe they were targeted for 
the crime and 
to permanent lockdown because of their organizing 
work with the prison chapter of the Black 
Panthers. Wallace, who is now 68 years old, was 
recently transferred from Angola to the Hunt 
Correctional Center near Baton Rouge, where he 
continues to be held in solitary. Two days ago, 
Wallace descended even deeper into the hole, 
placed in a disciplinary unit called Beaver 5 for 
unknown violations of prison policy.

Herman Wallace launched the appeal of his 
conviction nearly a decade ago. His lawyers have 
introduced substantial evidence showing that the 
state’s star witness, a fellow prisoner named 
Hezekiah Brown, was offered special treatment and 
an eventual pardon in exchange for his testimony 
against Wallace and Woodfox. In 2006, a judicial 
commissioner assigned to study the case found 
that there were grounds for overturning the 
conviction, but Wallace’s application was 
subsequently denied--by the state district court, 
court of appeals, and now by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

While every setback comes as a blow to a man 
nearing 70 who has spent nearly four decades in 
lockdown, one of Wallace’s attorneys said tonight 
that this denial by the state’s highest court 
came as no surprise, since it has a reputation 
for refusing to overturn the decisions of lower 
courts. Today’s ruling opens the doors to a 
federal habeas corpus challenge, beginning with 
the Federal District Court for the Middle 
District of Louisiana at Baton Rouge. Here, if 
Wallace is lucky, his case will be reviewed by a 
fact-finding federal magistrate, and his 
conviction overturned by a federal judge. This is 
what happened to Albert Woodfox last year. Yet 
Woodfox, too, remains in prison--and in solitary 
confinement--as the state appeals the judge’s decision.

Louisiana’s Attorney General, James “Buddy” 
Caldwell, has stated that he opposes releasing 
the two men “with every fiber of my being,” while 
the Warden of Angola and Hunt prisons, Burl Cain, 
has more than once suggested that the two men 
must be held in solitary because they ascribe to 
“Black Pantherism.” In addition to their criminal 
appeals, Wallace and Woodfox (along with Robert 
King, who was released in 2001), have a case 
pending on constitutional grounds. They argue 
that the conditions and duration of their time in 
solitary confinement constitute cruel and unusual 
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, 
and that they are being held there for their 
political beliefs, in violation of the First Amendment.

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