Time for the shambammers to exit the scene, Left!!-Special Litigation Section Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice P.O. Box 66400 Washington, DC 20035-6400 (202) 514-6255
State of La.
Update 21 March 08
"Angola 3" John Conyers & Cedric Richmond "?Investigative Hearings?"
PATRICK DENNIS/The Advocate
Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, left, asks for pardons for the two remaining inmates of the Angola 3, who were still in solitary confinement at Angola penitentiary. Standing behind Richmond in this March 20 photo is one of the three inmates, Robert King, orginally of New Orleans, now free, and Attorney Scott Fleming, right.
Indepth MSNBC. Victim's Wife Doubts the Men Are Guilty!!
By JEREMY HARPER
Advocate staff writer
Published: Mar 26, 2008 - UPDATED: 2 p.m.
Two men held in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola since the 1970s were moved into a maximum-security dormitory with other inmates Monday, Assistant Warden Angie Norwood said today.
Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, part of a group known as the Angola 3, have sued the state, claiming they are victims of cruel and unusual punishment for the years they spent in isolation. The two were convicted of killing a prison guard, though their attorneys argue they didn’t commit the crime.
Their move out of solitary confinement came as lawyers for the prisoners and the state are negotiating a settlement in the lawsuit, which is pending in federal court in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy” Caldwell and lawyers for the three men asked a federal judge Wednesday to delay a pretrial conference for two weeks to allow them to focus on negotiations.
“It appears at the moment that we may be able to come to an agreement, so we’re asking the court to let us continue that discussion,” said Nicholas Trenticosta, a New Orleans attorney representing the men.
Tammi Herring, a spokeswoman for Caldwell’s office, declined to comment because negotiations are ongoing.
The Angola 3 are Wallace, Woodfox and Robert King, who used to go by the last name Wilkerson.
King was placed in isolation for allegedly killing a fellow inmate, but that conviction was overturned in 2001 after he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. He spent 29 years in isolation before his release.
Wallace and Woodfox, who had formed a chapter of the Black Panther Party to fight problems inside the prison, were convicted of killing prison guard Brent Miller during a riot on April 17, 1972.
In isolation, an inmate spends 23 hours each day in a cell. The other hour is spent taking a shower and exercising alone.
Prison officials have maintained the men pose a security risk at the prison.
In addition to their claims of unjust treatment, attorneys with the national legal defense group Innocence Project have said evidence shows Wallace and Woodfox were not involved in Miller’s death. The Innocence Project recently stepped up efforts to raise public awareness of the Angola 3.
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, the chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, visited the prison last week and said evidence suggests the two men were wrongly convicted.
Norwood said the inmates were moved to the new dormitory as part of a larger transfer of inmates who have shown good behavior.
Angola is the first state prison to open a maximum-security dormitory, the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections announced in a news release last week.
“Good disciplinary records while in maximum custody will warrant the move to the dorm setting, while freeing up valuable cell space for younger, more violent offenders,” the news release says.
Asked about the specific rules and living arrangements for the dormitory, Norwood deferred to the department’s news release, which says only that the rules for the dormitory will be set by the warden of each facility.
Trenticosta said he doesn’t know exactly how much of an improvement the dormitories will be over solitary confinement, but added that he hopes to learn more about them through the talks with the state.
“There are plenty of regulations in the various settings at Angola, and it is unclear to us today what are those regulations that are being applied in this situation,” he said.