Document - USA: Do not let Herman Wallace die in prison


UA: 257/13 Index: AMR 51/063/2013 USA Date: 19 September 2013


do not let herman wallace die in prison

Herman Wallace, 71, diagnosed with liver cancer and given weeks to live, will die in prison if Governor of Louisiana does not grant him compassionate release.

Following a deeply flawed trial marked by prosecutorial misconduct, Herman Wallace was convicted by an all-white jury of the murder of a prison guard in 1972.The conviction relied heavily on the testimony of an inmate promised favours from the state, including a pardon, in exchange for his testimony. There was no physical evidence to link Herman Wallace to the murder and potential exculpatory evidence was ‘lost’ by the state. Herman Wallace has robustly denied any involvement in the murder and claims he was targeted because of his political activism as a member of the Black Panther party. Following the murder, Herman Wallace was placed in solitary confinement where he was confined to a small stark cell for 23 hours a day and only allowed out for 7 hours a week to wash and for solitary exercise. He was denied access to education, work, or rehabilitative programming. Held for over 41 years under these conditions, he has been denied any meaningful review for the reasons behind it.

Before being diagnosed with liver cancer, Herman Wallace’s living conditions already affected his physical and psychological health. In 2007 a federal judge ruled that the conditions under which he was being held constituted a deprivation of a basic human need and that prison officials should have been aware that such treatment could be seriously harmful to the physical and mental health of prisoners. In June 2013 following his cancer diagnosis Herman Wallace was moved from isolation to a medium security dormitory in the prison infirmary. According to his lawyers he has received substandard medical care, both before and after his diagnosis. This has included delaying potential life-extending chemotherapy treatment. All treatment for the cancer has now ceased. Herman Wallace is deteriorating daily and he is now mostly bed bound. Herman Wallace’s appeal for habeas relief was denied by a judge on 13 September, this will be appealed and a final decision given in four weeks. Even if successful, this is likely to be too late. An application for bail pending consideration of this application has also been denied. The only way Herman Wallace can avoid dying in prison is to be released for compassionate reasons. Amnesty International believes that Governor Jindal should release Herman Wallace immediately from prison so that he can die surrounded by family and friends.

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

Calling for the immediate compassionate release of Herman Wallace, who has only weeks to live;

Urging that after 41 years of confinement in cruel and inhumane conditions he should be allowed to die surrounded by his family;

Noting that serious concerns regarding fairness of his trial persist, even after 41 years.


Governor of Louisiana

Bobby Jindal

Office of the Governor

PO Box 94004, Baton Rouge

Louisiana 70804, USA

Fax: +1 225 342 7099 Email:,

Bobby Jindal’s:

Chief of Staff Paul Rainwater

Executive Assistant Emilie Riser

Assistant Chief of Staff Tammy Woods

Salutation: Dear Governor

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

UA: 257/13 Index: AMR 51/063/2013 Issue Date: 19 September 2013


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