BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The future of a former Black Panther, one of the so-called "Angola 3," is back in the news.
Albert Woodfox spent 36 years in solitary confinement at Angola for the 1972 murder of a prison guard. Two motions were heard in federal court Tuesday regarding Woodfox's life sentence.
Woodfox has been convicted twice of killing an Angola prison guard back in 1972. Both convictions were overturned. The second was overturned when Judge James Brady ordered that the state must either dismiss the charges against Woodfox or retry him within 120 days. Tuesday, Dana Cummings with the attorney general's office asked the judge to stay his order. "What we are seeking is that Albert Woodfox remain incarcerated until the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules," Cummings says.
Woodfox could be released to live with family members in the near future. Defense attorney Nick Trenticosta pleaded with Judge Brady for Woodfox's immediate release from Angola. "A federal judge has the absolute authority to release Mr. Woodfox on bail pending appeal," Trenticosta says. As far as whether there will be another trial with a possible third conviction against his client, attorney Nick Trenticosta says Woodfox will be a free man. "They can decide to retry it or not, but he'll be free on bail, because why? He's presumed innocent and that's what we're here for today," he says.
Two motions are currently on the table. One is for the judge to stay his 120-day ultimatum. The other is for the judge to immediately release Woodfox on bail so that he may join his family and friends, many of whom were supporting him at federal court. "Now, the judge has not made a ruling on either motion, yet. Motions are outstanding and we'll be back in court," Trenticosta says.