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Robert King and Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 w/ Angela Davis at UCSC
by posted by the Angola 3 Coalition
Tuesday May 15th, 2018 4:13 PM
Former political prisoners Albert Woodfox and Robert King of the Angola 3 will be in Santa Cruz next week for a May 22 event with Angela Davis, Craig Haney, and Debbie Kilroy. King and Woodfox will then be speaking at the Santa Cruz Academic Summit on Solitary Confinement & Health from May 23-25. A schedule for the Academic Summit is included here as a PDF.
sm_may22ucsc.jpg
--Information about the May 22 Panel, from the UCSC website:

https://news.ucsc.edu/2018/05/haney-davis.html

Angela Davis joins May 22 panel discussion about mass incarceration
--Panelists include two surviving members of the Angola 3, who spent a combined 72 years in solitary confinement

May 11, 2018

By Jennifer McNulty

Robert King spent 29 years in solitary confinement in the notorious Angola Prison in Louisiana. His friend and fellow prisoner Albert Woodfox spent 43 years isolated in the same facility. Since their release, they have devoted themselves to a worldwide campaign to end solitary confinement.

King and Woodfox will be joined in conversation on May 22 by Distinguished Professor Emerita Angela Davis for a panel discussion about the future of criminal justice reform. The conversation will be moderated by Distinguished Professor of Psychology Craig Haney, who holds a UC Presidential Chair. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Bhojwani Room in University Center; admission is free, but seating is limited.

Davis, a UC Santa Cruz professor emerita of history of consciousness and feminist studies, is widely recognized for her scholarship on mass incarceration and her advocacy on behalf of civil rights, feminist, and prison issues.

Also participating in the discussion will be Debbie Kilroy, an Australian prison activist and the founder of "Sisters Inside," an international organization that advocates on behalf of women in prison. Kilroy, who has been called one of the world’s "leading voices on the human rights of criminalized women," is the first formerly incarcerated person in Australia to become a practicing lawyer.

"It's rare to have the opportunity to hear from those who have been most impacted by the worst injustices of our criminal justice system, as well two of the most powerful advocates for radical change," said Haney, co-director of the UC Criminal Justice & Health Consortium. "It's an honor to provide a platform for Robert King, Albert Woodfox, Angela Davis, and Debbie Kilroy."

Haney is a leading expert on the psychological effects of incarceration—particularly solitary confinement—whose testimony has played a key role in numerous court rulings calling for improved conditions inside prisons. His book, Reforming Punishment: Psychological Limits to the Pains of Imprisonment, was nominated for a National Book Award.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to convene this remarkable group of activists and advocates," added Haney. "The evening promises to be an enlightening one for those who are able to attend."


--A3 FACT SHEET, from http://www.angola3news.com:

46 years ago, deep in rural Louisiana, three young black men were silenced for trying to expose continued segregation, systematic corruption, and horrific abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an 18,000 acre former slave plantation called Angola.

Peaceful, non-violent protest in the form of hunger and work strikes organized by inmates caught the attention of Louisiana’s elected leaders and local media in the early 1970s. They soon called for investigations into a host of unconstitutional and extraordinarily inhumane practices commonplace in what was then the “bloodiest prison in the South.” Eager to put an end to outside scrutiny, prison officials began punishing inmates they saw as troublemakers.

At the height of this unprecedented institutional chaos, Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, and Robert King were charged with murders they did not commit and thrown into 6x9 foot solitary cells where they remained for decades.

Their struggle for justice continued until Robert was released in 2001, Herman in 2013, and Albert in 2016.

Despite a number of reforms achieved in the mid-70s, many officials repeatedly ignored both evidence of misconduct, and of innocence.

The State’s case was riddled with inconsistencies, obfuscations, and missteps. A bloody print at the murder scene did not match Herman, Albert or anyone charged with the crime and was never compared with the limited number of other prisoners who had access to the dormitory on the day of the murder. In 2008, NPR asked Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell why the state refused to test the print. "A fingerprint can come from anywhere," Caldwell explained. "We're not going to be fooled by that."

Potentially exculpatory DNA evidence was “lost” by prison officials—including fingernail scrapings from the victim and barely visible “specks” of blood on clothing alleged to have been worn by Albert.

Both Herman and Albert had multiple alibi witnesses with nothing to gain who testified they were far away from the scene when the murder occurred.

In contrast, several State witnesses lied under oath about rewards for their testimony. The prosecution’s star witness Hezekiah Brown told the jury: “Nobody promised me nothing.” But new evidence showed Hezekiah, a convicted serial rapist serving life, agreed to testify only in exchange for a pardon, a weekly carton of cigarettes, TV, birthday cakes, and other luxuries.

“Hezekiah was one you could put words in his mouth,” the Warden reminisced chillingly in an interview about the case years later.

Notably, Teenie Rogers, the widow of the victim, prison guard Brent Miller, after reviewing the evidence believed Herman and Albert’s trials were unfair, expressed grave doubts about their guilt, and called upon officials to find the real killer. "“Each time I look at the evidence in this case, I remember there is no proof that the men charged with Brent’s death are the ones who actually killed him. It’s easy to get caught up in vengeance and anger, but when I look at the facts, they just do not add up,” said Rogers in 2013.

Herman’s conviction was finally overturned in October 2013 by a Federal Judge. Although his trial was riddled with evidence of prosecutorial misconduct and other constitutional violations, it was the systematic exclusion of women from his jury in violation of the 14th Amendment that freed him. Unfortunately he was released in the late stages of advanced liver cancer and only experienced 3 days of freedom. Sadly for Herman, justice delayed was justice denied.

Albert’s conviction was overturned three times by judges citing racial discrimination, prosecutorial misconduct, inadequate defense, and suppression of exculpatory evidence. While the case worked its way through endless appeals, Louisiana officials refused to release Albert from solitary, even when no longer convicted of the crime, because “there’s been no rehabilitation” from “practicing Black Pantherism.”4

In June 2015, a Federal Judge courageously ordered Albert's immediate release and barred a retrial stressing the “Court's lack of confidence in the State to provide a fair third trial." This extraordinary remedy was also frozen pending yet another series of appeals.

Finally, Albert was released in February of 2016, 43 years and 10 months after first being put in isolation for a crime he didn’t commit.


Louisiana today has the highest incarceration rate in the US—thus the highest in the world.

Three-fourths of the 5,000+ prisoners at Angola are African American. And due to some of the harshest sentencing practices in the nation, 97% will die there.

Reminiscent of a bygone era, inmates still harvest cotton, corn and wheat for 4 to 20 cents an hour under the watchful eye of armed guards on horseback.

We believe that only by openly examining the failures and inequities of the criminal justice system in America can we restore integrity to that system.

We must not wait.

We can make a difference.

As the A3 did years before, now is the time to challenge injustice and demand that the innocent and wrongfully incarcerated be freed.
§Academic Summit Program Schedule
by posted by the Angola 3 Coalition Tuesday May 15th, 2018 4:13 PM
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§May 22 event is public, but later Academic Summit is not
by A3 Coalition Wednesday May 16th, 2018 8:52 AM
We apologize for posting info about the May 23-25 Academic Summit. The Summit is invite-only and NOT a public event.

However, the May 22 event with King, Woodfox, Angela Davis and others is open to the public, so if you are in the area, please DO check out that panel discussion.