Group calls Angola 3 case cruel & unusual

Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 - 9:11pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 3:24pm

Four decades to the day have passed since the Angola Three were convicted of killing a prison guard. Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, have spent those forty years, confined to a six-by-nine cell, only allowed one hour a day outside the tiny space.

"You in a cell like that, 23 hours a day, seven days a week, you acclimate yourself to small distances," said Robert King, an Angola 3 inmate who was released back in 2000. "That in itself is de-humanizing."

King was released after pleading to a conspiracy charge. Family members of both Wallace and Woodfox were at Tuesday's rally, calling for Governor Jindal to intervene in the name of humanity. Some state lawmakers agree.

"I do think it's time and I'm glad amnesty has taken on this as a project," said Representative Patricia Smith, (D)-Baton Rouge. "And I will support it as well."

A state judiciary commissioner recommended reversing the murder conviction that would've released Wallace and Woodfox, citing that evidence found at the scene did not match either one of the defendants.

The commissioner's recommendation was overruled, leaving the two men in the same condition, and leaving others feeling compelled to do something, on this fortieth anniversary.

"What has been done to the Angola 3 is more drastic than what has been done to some of the worst serial killers, masked murderers, and terrorists in this country," said Angela Bell, a professor at Southern University Law Center. "Be assured today that criminal justice reform, is a human rights issue in this country."

Both Wallace and Woodfox were transferred to other prison's around the state several years ago. The Department of Corrections said prisoners in closed cell restrictions have many of the same privileges as the general prison population.

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