Federal Judge Orders Release Of Twice Convicted Cop Killer And Black Panther Leader, Albert Woodfox
U.S. District Judge James Brady, a Bill Clinton appointee.
Via NOLA Com
A federal judge in Baton Rouge has called for the unconditional release of Albert Woodfox, the only remaining imprisoned member of the Angola 3.
For more than 40 years, Woodfox, 68, has been in solitary confinement at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, and other state prisons, for reasons related to the 1972 murder of prison guard Brent Miller. Woodfox has twice been convicted of Miller’s murder, but courts later overturned both the convictions.
U.S. District Judge James Brady issued a ruling Monday (June 8) afternoon calling for the unconditional release of Woodfox from state custody and barring a third trial of the murder charge.
Woodfox has always maintained his innocence, claiming 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.
His attorney Carine Williams said Woodfox would spend Monday night at a pretrial detention center in West Feliciana Parish, where he’s been since February. He was transferred to the parish facility from a state prison after a grand jury there handed down Woodfox his third indictment in the 43-year-old murder case.
Aaron Sadler, spokesman for Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office, said Brady’s order “arbitrarily sets aside jury decisions” based on “faulty procedural issues.”
“With today’s order, the Court would see fit to set free a twice-convicted murderer who is awaiting trial again for the brutal slaying of Corrections Officer Brent Miller,” he said in an emailed statement.
In his ruling, Brady denied the state’s request for a stay. But Caldwell’s office is seeking an emergency stay from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Sadler said, “to make sure this murderer stays in prison and remains fully accountable for his actions.”
Countering Sadler’s remarks, a statement from Woodfox’s attorneys said there was “nothing arbitrary about the federal court’s ruling, which is carefully considered and relies on firmly established law. …The federal court further recognizes that the State has now had two chances to secure a valid conviction against Mr. Woodfox and has been unable to do so.” More