Ex-Black Panther Member Albert Woodfox Pursuing Legal Action Over his "cruel" Solitary Confinement
Mar 17, 2016 06:58 AM EDT
Former member of Black Panther is filing a civil lawsuit regarding his solitary confinement for over four decades after his released last month. The pending lawsuit states that his long term solitary confinement was inhuman and unusual.
According to the Guardian, Albert Woodfox, who finally walks out from the prison after his long standing solitary confinement for 43 years in the state penitentiary in Louisiana, determines to pushe a pending legal battle. Woodfox filed a civil lawsuit that argues his isolation was "cruel and unusual". However, US magistrate judge Cynthia Reed Eddy is still making decisions on whether the said lawsuit will be given a jury trial.
On February 19, Woodfox, celebrated his 69th birthday as well as his freedom after his confinement for more than four decades, New Yorker reported. He was kept in solitary following the 1972 murder of a prison guard at the Louisiana State Prison, known as Angola, along with fellow prisoner, Herman Wallace.
The prisoner's release came after the state of Louisiana agreed to drop Woodfox in turn pleaded no contest to lesser charges of manslaughter and aggravated burglary, according to New York Times. His confinement cell measures 50-square-foot. His confinement also has the record with longest time spent inside a solitary confinement in the history of the America.
Upon his released, he stayed on a hotel suite, with his brothers and the legal team who helped him to be grant his released. "I don't think I ever felt that I would die in prison. As the years passed, it became more difficult to feel that way," Woodfox said.
His murder conviction was overturned twice. The first conviction was on grounds that he had received ineffective defense representation in 1992. The second was in 2008, because of racial discrimination in setting up the grand jury that indicted him. In 2014, a federal judge barred the state for the third time, since all the key witnesses to the killing have since died.
Last month, US President Barack Obama used his executive powers to ban solitary confinement for juveniles in all federal prisons. He has also commissioned a review into the use of solitary in the US.