[Pnews] LA Authorities Will Not Release Herman Wallace Despite Court Order
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Oct 1 17:51:56 EDT 2013
EXCERPT: "An ambulance is standing by outside the prison and lawyers for
Wallace are also present. But the district attorney for East Baton Rouge
has challenged the federal court order, and in the light of the
challenge the Louisiana department of corrections is refusing to set the
Louisiana refuses to release former Black Panther despite court order
Herman Wallace, a member of the so-called 'Angola Three' who has just
days to live, at the centre of unseemly legal tussle
Ed Pilkington <http://www.theguardian.com/profile/edpilkington> in
* theguardian.com <http://www.theguardian.com/>, Tuesday 1 October
2013 17.20 EDT
A gruesome legal battle over the fate of a dying man is being played out
at the Hunt correctional center in St Gabriel, Louisiana
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/louisiana>, as state authorities
refuse to release a former member of the Black Panther movement despite
a federal court ordering they do so.
Herman Wallace, who was held for more than 40 years
in solitary confinement in Louisiana jails, is still being confined
inside the prison although Judge Brian Jackson ordered on Tuesday that
he be immediately released. Wallace, 71, is suffering from lung cancer
and is believed to have just days to live.
An ambulance is standing by outside the prison and lawyers for Wallace
are also present. But the district attorney for East Baton Rouge has
challenged the federal court order, and in the light of the challenge
the Louisiana department of corrections is refusing to set the prisoner
The unseemly tussle over the fate of a dying man is wholly in keeping
with the history of Wallace's penal history up to this point. A member
of the so-called Angola Three, he was convicted in 1974 for killing
prison guard Brent Miller in Angola jail – but has always professed his
Wallace was then kept for 41 years in isolation, as has been his
co-defendant and fellow Angola Three member Albert Woodfox.
Amnesty International USA has added its leverage to the push to have
Wallace release, aware that he has probably only hours or days to live.
In a statement, its executive director Steven Hawkins said: "No ruling
can erase the cruel, inhuman and degrading prison conditions he endured
for more than 41 years – confined to a tiny cell for 23 hours a day.
Judge Jackson's decision to overturn Herman Wallace's conviction
underscores Amnesty's long-held concerns about the original legal
process that resulted in his imprisonment.
"The state must act immediately to release Wallace and remove Albert
Woodfox from more than four decades of solitary confinement."
Wallace's legal team pleaded with the department of corrections to
honour the judge's order and release him immediately "so that he can
spend his final days as a free man."
Judge Jackson's order
issued in a federal district court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was based
upon the unconstitutional nature of Wallace's original 1972 grand jury
that handed down the charges against him. The grand jury was convened as
an all-male panel – in keeping with the contemporary spirit of Louisiana
where no grand jury had ever included a woman up until that time.
Wallace's virulent cancer was diagnosed in June after it had already
reached a stage that was too advanced to treat. He blames his terminal
condition on the fact that he was not given proper medical supervision
during his prolonged solitary confinement.
In his most recent recorded comments
published for the first time by the Guardian , he told the film-maker
Angad Bhalla: "I'm going through hell … While my mind is strong, my body
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