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Updates: Seth Hayes, Sundiata Acoli, Albert Woodfox and Roger Clement

May 2, 2013

Seth Hayes denied parole for the 9th time

BY NATE BUCKLEY

Seth was “hit” again at the Parole Board for the 9th time. The reason given was the same reason given for previous 8 parole board appearances “due to serious nature of the crime.”

Seth was given a risk assessment last year and it came back very low, Seth has had a great work record, discipline record, a family. Seth is also a Vietnam veteran, with a purple heart.

This reasoning has nothing to do with rehabilitation, with the community in mind, his family, nor mentioning the 15 year life sentence he has served past the mandatory 25. Seth, now in his 60’s has been incarcerated since 1973; he is now in his 40th year of incarceration

Seth is not the only one either, the Department of Corrections and the Parole Board have much interest in keeping inmates inside. There is big money in prisons. More to come in the future.

Write to Seth and lend some support!

Robert Seth Hayes #74-A-2280
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116

Sundiata Acoli freedom campaign legal update

On March 4, 2010 Sundiata Acoli, at 73 years old, was denied parole for the third time by the New Jersey State Parole board. Sundiata had served 37 years in prison as he was convicted in the May 2, 1973 shooting of a New Jersey State Trooper on the NJ Turnpike.

Sundiata had last been denied parole in 1994. The parole board continues to cite among other things, that “He was not rehabilitated.” Sundiata has maintained an infraction-free prison record since 1996.

Over a thousand letters and petitions from a diverse group of influential peoples, including psychologists, lawyers, clergy, professors, journalists, and community members were sent to the parole board expressing love from the community and support for his release.

Nevertheless, Sundiata was denied parole just minutes after an in-person review by two members of the board. No time was taken to deliberate the decision, and notice of the denial was given to him on a sheet with barely legible hand-written notes on it. Not only was he denied but he was told his case would be referred to a 3-member panel to establish a FET (“hit”) outside the guidelines. In mid July,

Sundiata received written notice that a three member panel,  two of which included the two members who denied him, had decided to give him a 10 year hit which means he must serve an additional 6 years in prison before he will again be eligible for a parole hearing. He will be 79 years old.

The “hit” is particularly harsh since on August 1, 2010 a new law was passed in New Jersey capping to 36 months, the number of years the parole board can establish a FET. The New Jersey Parole Board rushed to send this letter to Sundiata to avoid the August 1st deadline. As of this posting, Sundiata has not yet received any explanation from the board for this 10 year “hit”.

The Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign (SAFC) continues to be vigilant in seeking justice for Sundiata and his right to freedom. Sundiata’s legal advisors have consulted with a NJ attorney to appeal the decision. The attorney has been retained and has prepared and filed an administrative appeal to the NJ Parole Board outlining in very clear terms, the errors made by the panel in denying Sundiata’s parole. The appeal was filed on August 27, 2010.

In July, 2012 Sundiata appeared before the NJ Parole Board twice via video teleconference at FCI Cumberland, MD where he’s currently held. The panel denied parole and referred his case to a 3-member panel to establish a “hit” outside the guidelines.

On October 17, 2012 the 3-member panel set a 100 month, i.e., 8 1/3 year, “hit” for Sundiata but did not deliver the written decision until January 17, 2013 to the now 76 year old Sundiata. This latest decision must also be appealed.

We believe the case for appealing the NJ Parole Board’s decision is strong! SAFC will continue to keep pushing for Sundiata’s release and raising awareness about his case. Members of SAFC are available to speak and share information with any group who requests it. Simply email thesafc@gmail.com.

Sundiata needs your love and support and SAFC needs to raise funds to cover Sundiata’s legal expenses. Regular commissary donations to keep Sundiata smiling and knowing he is loved are also encouraged. We understand the financial limitations of people during these times and we appreciate anything you can give.

Please take a moment and give what you can to support his release:

To make a contribution to Sundiata’s legal expenses, please send a check or money order payable to SAFC to:

SAF
PO BOX 766
HARLEM STATION
New York, New York 10027

Please be sure to note in the memo field that your check is for Legal Fees.

To send  Sundiata a card, a photo, artwork or just a simple letter saying you are thinking about him, write him at:

Sundiata Acoli #39794-066 (Squire)
PO Box 1000
FCI Cumberland
Cumberland MD 21501-1000

Any one of these things is a great way to show your love and support.

Thank you in advance!

 

Albert Woodfox

Amnesty International has launched a campaign to keep Louisiana Attorney General James D. Caldwell from appealing the court’s decision which once again overturned Woodfox’s conviction finding his trial flawed by racial discrimination. Woodfox, one the “Angola 3” was initially targeted in prison for Black Panther Party organizing to the benefit of both black and white prisoners. Louisiana has previously appealed rather than honor court decisions in Woodfox’s favor. While Amnesty asks Woodfox be retried or freed, since he was unjustly convicted, having served forty years in solitary confinement, a retrial would only prolong an absolute injustice. Albert Woodfox should be freed immediately.

Roger Clement

Great news! Roger’s release date is currently scheduled for April 17, 2013. His friends are very excited to have him back on the outside. Unfortunately, his release from incarceration won’t mark the complete end to his monitoring by the prison system. It is likely Roger will be released with a number of conditions, which he will have to adhere to very closely. Details of these conditions aren’t fully clear yet, but they may involve being unable to associate with many of his friends and colleagues until June, 2014, his Warrant Expiry Date.

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