February 28, 2016
  "Confess or Die in Jail,"
US Tells Innocent Man

If one accepts the legal principle of innocence until proven guilty, then one simply has no option but to call Albert Woodfox an innocent man, at least with respect to the 1972 killing of US prison guard Brent Miller. We ran a story in June last year about him, one of the Angola 3 prisoners, held in a US jail in solitary confinement for 43 years without a conviction.
Woodfox releaseIn a so-called plea-bargain agreement last week, the authorities in Lousiana state finally agreed to release Mr Woodfox in exchange for a plea of no-contest to charges of manslaughter in connection with the 1972 incident. Mr Woodfox had twice been tried unsuccessfully for murder (convictions obtained by Lousiana authorities had been overturned by federal courts) for the same incident and was facing an imminent third trial before the plea-bargain was negotiated. Following the plea-bargain he was sentenced to 42 years imprisonment, and having already served more than this time in prison he walked free on Friday, February 26, his

69th birthday. The swift, political manner of his release reinforces the conviction that ultimate responsibility for his prolonged detention in solitary confinement rests with the US federal authorities rather than the notoriously recalcitrant Louisiana legal system. Mr Woodfox and the other Angola 3 inmates, Herman Wallace and Robert King, were members of the radical Black Panthers organization and had attempted to spread its ideology in prison before being thrown into solitary confinemnt. Once out of prison on Friday, Mr Woodfox and his lawyer renounced his plea of no-contest to manslaughter and continued to maintain his innocence in the death of the prison guard.