A3 Newsletter, January 21, 2014:
Albert Woodfox's Hour in the 5th Circuit Court and His Message to Supporters
For those who were unable to attend, Albert's oral argument in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, defending Judge Brady's decision to overturn his conviction for a third time, is now complete (click here to listen). As expected, the proceedings were brief and rather mystifying. It was clear that most of the judges had already spent a great deal of time reviewing and considering the case, and were just tying up a few arcane legal loose ends.
The State's Attorney General Buddy Caldwell watched carefully as his team urged the Court to reverse Judge Brady's decision and reinstate Albert's conviction based on their now overruled version of the statistical story, and a misplaced deference to the broad powers given by the AEDPA. As you may recall, the AEDPA is a federal law used as the primary reason for reinstating Albert's conviction in 2010. It allows Federal Courts to defer judgment to previous Louisiana rulings against Albert if those rulings were not "unreasonable" or "contrary to clearly established federal law" - an insidiously squishy standard.
Albert's supporters filled the courtroom completely and his legal team deftly rebutted the State's claims and fielded a handful of questions from the 3-judge panel, which included Judges Jolly and Higginbotham (both Reagan appointees), and Judge Southwick (a George W. Bush appointee). Judge Jolly was tied up in transit so participated only by phone and did not ask any questions of either side.
A decision is expected in coming months. Although it took the 5th Circuit almost a year and a half to rule last time, we are more confident than ever that a swift decision will soon come in Albert's favor, finally releasing this innocent man from the solitary cell he was unjustly relegated to now nearly 42 long years ago.
The arguments were covered by the AP and in the Times Picayune bothbefore and after. We will update you as soon as we have any additional information.
--Read Amnesty International's statement for Jan. 7, where Amnesty once again called for Albert's immediate release.
MEDIA: Lauren McGaughy, Times-Picayune II Daily Journal / Associated Press II UPI
VIEW / DOWNLOAD: A3 info flyer for Jan. 7 II Listen to audio from the oral arguments II Rev. Patricia Bates / NRCAT statement
I would like to take this time to express my profound gratitude to all the wonderful friends, supporters and comrades around the world for your unbelievable solidarity and support!
I'm not sure what the New Year means to you. For me, it's the realization that another year of mental and emotional torture has started! I constantly ask myself, is this the year of justice and freedom? Or just another year of the same?
Is this the year that I lose my battle against constant attacks of claustrophobia, mental and emotional pain and suffering? Is the year that I run out of creative ways that allow me to ignore time and space, and the weight of the world crushes me, instead of making me stronger?
Will the loss of one of the greatest human beings that has ever lived, my friend and comrade Herman "Hooks" Wallace, finally tip the scales of sanity against me? As the years pass, the questions have started to surpass my hopes for freedom and justice!
To the many people around the world, who have taken us (A3) into your lives, your hearts, and said that I know you, and what you have given to this world, and have taken the time to write to me, and the Louisiana State officials, you have no idea what a source of strength and courage
It is impossible to personally respond to the 1000's of letters, and cards, to encourage me to stay strong, don't give up, don't lose hope and fight on. Thank you, the message is heard! I ask that this letter feels as if I am reaching out to you personally, and saying in solidarity and struggle! All Power to the People!
Albert "Shaka Cinque" Woodfox
January 13, 2014
Albert's Birthday Reminder:
Send Love, but not CDs or Stamps
As Albert's 67th birthday approaches, on February 19, we want to remind supporters that he is not allowed to receive stamps or cds. Cards and messages are always the best gift, but if you want to send more, the best way is to give some funds to his www.jpay.com account (#00072148) so he can buy stamps, cds or other personal items from the prison store.
Through jpay, he can receive emails, although any photos sent will be black and white. If you send an email, jpay will ask if you want to pay extra for him to have money to respond via email. However, Albert is unfortunately not allowed to send email, so do not choose this option.
His mailing address is:
David Wade Correctional Center, N1 A3
670 Bell Hill Rd.