Jun 21, 2010 8:10 PM by Chris Welty
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal appeals court has reversed a lower
court's decision to grant a new trial to a former member of the
Black Panther Party who was convicted of murdering a Louisiana
U.S. District Judge James Brady had ruled in 2008 that Albert
Woodfox's defense counsel in his retrial was ineffective. He
ordered the state to try him for a third time or drop the case.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday reversed that
order, saying Brady erred in concluding that Woodfox had
ineffective counsel in his second trial.
A telephone call to Woodfox's attorney was not immediately
Woodfox has been convicted twice of fatally stabbing Brent
Miller, a 23-year-old guard, in 1972.
Woodfox, along with Robert King Wilkerson and Herman Wallace,
joined the Black Panthers after arriving at the Louisiana State
Penitentiary at Angola in the late 1960s and began organizing a
prison chapter of the group in 1971. The trio, who became known as
the Angola 3, set up demonstrations in the prison and organized
strikes for better conditions there. At the time, Angola was known
as one of the bloodiest prisons in the nation.
Woodfox and Wallace were convicted of stabbing Miller to death.
After Miller's death, Woodfox, Wallace and Wilkerson, who was
not charged in the killing but was said to be linked to it, were
removed from the prison's general population and put into solitary
confinement. Woodfox was moved from solitary confinement to a
maximum-security unit alongside other inmates in 2008.
Woodfox's first conviction in Miller's death was overturned
after he challenged the grand jury indictment.
Wilkerson, who was convicted of killing a fellow inmate in 1973,
was released in 2001 after spending 29 years on lockdown. That
conviction was overturned and he pleaded guilty to the lesser
charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
Wallace's conviction is being reviewed by the Louisiana Supreme