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Appeals Court Denies Immediate Release To Last Of 'Angola 3'

Albert Woodfox, shown in an undated prison photo. Prosecutors want to keep the former Black Panther leader behind bars as he awaits a third trial in the 1972 murder of Brent Miller, a 23-year-old guard at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

A federal appeals panel has upheld blocking the release of Albert Woodfox — the last of the Angola 3, who has been held for more than four decades in solitary confinement in Angola State Prison in Louisiana.

Earlier this week, a lower court judge had ordered Woodfox, a former Black Panther leader, to be released unconditionally. As the Two-Way's Eyder Peralta wrote earlier, the 68-year-old Woodfox "has spent the past four decades in solitary confinement after he was twice convicted of the 1972 stabbing death of Brent Miller, a 23-year-old guard at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La."

Both of those convictions were overturned because of racial prejudice and lack of evidence.

The Associated Press writes that his lawyers initially won his release while awaiting retrial:

"The state appealed, and a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked his release. That panel extended the order Friday until the state's appeal plays out.

"Woodfox and two other prisoners became known as the Angola 3 because of their long stretches in isolation at the penitentiary in Angola and other facilities."

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