A Louisiana federal judge has called for the unconditional release of Albert Woodfox, the only remaining imprisoned member of the Angola 3, who has been in solitary confinement for more than 40 years, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Woodox, 68, has twice been convicted in the 1972 murder of prison guard Brent Miller, but courts overturned both convictions. U.S. District Judge James Brady in Baton Rouge ordered Woodfox’s release and barred a third trial.
The judge cited Woodfox’s “age and poor health, his limited ability to present a defense at a third trial in light of the unavailability of witnesses, this court’s lack of confidence in the state to provide a fair third trial, the prejudice done onto Mr. Woodfox by spending over forty years in solitary confinement, and finally the very fact that Mr. Woodfox has already been tried twice and would otherwise face his third trial for a crime that occurred over forty years ago.” Woodfox has argued that he was implicated in the murder of the 23-year-old guard to silence his activism as an organizing member of the prison’s Black Panther Party chapter. Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit “to make sure this murderer stays in prison and remains fully accountable for his actions.”