[Pnews] LA Authorities Will Not Release Herman Wallace Despite Court Order

Prisoner News 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 
prisoner free."


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/01/louisiana-prison-angola-three-court-order


  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
      New York
    * 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 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/angola-three-herman-wallace-cancer-release> 
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 
free.

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 
innocence.

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 
<https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/800681-herman-wallace-ruling.html>, 
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 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/25/angola-three-herman-wallace-cancer-release>, 
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 
fell victim."



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