Monday, September 21, 2015

Reportback on Albert Woodfox's Hearing Today in Louisiana State Court, w/ Amnesty International USA Statement

MEDIA COVERAGE:  NOLA Times-Picayune Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 (also before the hearing)  II  ABA Journal  II  Common Dreams  II  KSL / AP  II  ABC / AP  II  Truthout on Herman's House

A3 Newsletter: Judge Rules for DNA Testing and Fingerprint Analysis but Against the Change of Venue and Dismissing the Case

This morning in St. Francisville Judge Carmichael of West Feliciana Parish's 20th Judicial District Court made the first determinations about what the legal landscape will look like if Judge Brady's "unconditional Writ" is overturned and Albert faces a third trial.  

The good news is that the judge agreed to require a unanimous jury decision, to allow DNA testing of all evidence still in the State's possession that may contain adequate sample sizes for modern analysis, and to give Albert's defense team access to any fingerprint files the State possesses from Angola at the time of the murder.  He also agreed to give Albert's defense team a chance to privately review (under seal) letters from the latest grand jury foreperson expressing "serious misgivings" about the "process" in order to assess whether or not the most recent indictment itself, hastily obtained in February of 2015 before the federal appeals process had fully played out, may have once again been improperly obtained. 

Overall though, it was not a good day for Albert, or for justice, in St. Francisville.  In a curt, 45 minute hearing (originally scheduled for two full days) the judge rejected a solid majority of Albert's 16 pre-trial motions designed to create a fair evidentiary and procedural playing field for any potential retrial.  Albert's motion to quash, change the venue, and run the print evidence through the FBI's expanded AFIS database were all quite unceremoniously denied.  Critically, so were Albert's requests to exclude all the now impeached, debunked, and discredited testimony presented at previous trials by Hezekiah Brown and the State's other key witnesses.  Though Albert will be allowed to present impeachment evidence to a new jury, the jurors will never able to see how these now deceased witnesses respond and react on the stand when confronted with their own lies, obfuscations, and omissions from previous testimony.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A3 Newsletter: Albert Woodfox Takes First Steps Towards Retrial in State Court on Sept. 21 in St. Francisville, LA

A3 Newsletter: A Third Chance for Justice in State Court - The Critical Importance of Setting the Right Evidentiary and Procedural Scene for a Fair Retrial

Though it is an incredibly unusual, and often confusing situation, the legal reality is that Albert is fighting for permanent, unconditional release concurrently on two separate legal tracks - one in federal and the other in state court.  As we all wait to hear whether the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold federal Judge Brady's June 8th "unconditional Writ," a third attempt to prosecute Albert in state court for the crime he continues to maintain he's innocent of is already, simultaneously, underway.

Next Monday, September 21st at 9:30am at the Courthouse in St. Francisville, the state court track will take a huge leap forward as Judge Carmichael of West Feliciana Parish's 20th Judicial District Court decides what a new playing field will look like after each side presents what they believe to be the key ingredients needed to ensure a just potential third trial.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reportback on Albert Woodfox's Sept. 2 Oral Arguments at US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

IN THE NEWS:  NOLA Times Picayune (1, 2) II  The Advocate  II  Shreveport Times  II  ABC / AP  II  WRAL / AP   II  Toronto Sun / Reuters  II  Second Reuters article

(PHOTO: A3 supporters outside of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this morning at Albert Woodfox's oral arguments. Big Thanks to everyone that made it out!!)

This morning, Amnesty International USA released the following statement, reprinted in full.

Please check back here for more updates later in the day. See also our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Amnesty International USA Statement on Ongoing Incarceration of Albert Woodfox

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans heard oral argument in Albert Woodfox vs. Burl Cain. A three-judge panel will decide whether Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox should be granted unconditional release or face a third trial after spending more than four decades in solitary confinement.