Lawyers for Louisiana on Wednesday argued for a chance to put Albert Woodfox, 68, back on trial — for the third time — in the decades-old murder of a prison guard at Angola, reports NOLA.com. Two of Woodfox’s previous convictions in the 1972 slaying of a Louisiana State Penitentiary guard were thrown out. At issue during a federal appeals court hearing was whether or not a June 8 order by U.S. District Judge James Brady, who granted the unconditional release of Woodfox, should stand. Brady ruled that Woodfox should not be subjected to a third trial in the 43-year-old prison murder.
But by then, the state had already secured a third indictment against Woodfox in the case from a West Feliciana Parish grand jury, and state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has pledged to keep Woodfox locked up. For more than 40 years, Woodfox has been held in solitary confinement, a custody status that’s come under increasing scrutiny in prisons across the country. Supporters of Woodfox claim he was wrongly accused to silence his activism inside the prison and as punishment for organizing Angola’s first Black Panther Party chapter. Attorneys made their arguments to a three-judge panel in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.