CNN)Could Albert Woodfox, who's spent more than four decades in solitary confinement for a crime he's long argued he didn't commit, set foot outside prison this week?
    The decision about whether the last imprisoned member of the so-called Angola 3 goes free is in the hands of a federal appeals court. U.S. District Judge James J. Brady ruled Monday that Woodfox, 68, should be released from prison and should not face a third trial due to "exceptional circumstances," including his age and poor health and the court's "lack of confidence in the state to provide a fair third trial."But Louisiana's attorney general appealed the ruling, insisting that Woodfox is guilty of killing a Louisiana prison guard and should remain in prison.The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals hasn't decided the case yet. But it has set a new deadline: Woodfox's release, judges ruled Tuesday, will be temporarily blocked at least until 1 p.m. Friday.

    Woodfox and Herman Wallace were accused in the 1972 killing of guard Brent Miller at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. A third inmate, Robert King, was linked to Miller's death but never charged.150609101451 albert woodfox 1 medium plus 169 - Us Man Albart  Woodfox to be released after 43 years

    Wendy Walsh: Decades in solitary is 'barbaric' 03:10


    The group became known as the "Angola 3," and the case has been a cause celebre for years, with activists arguing there is no evidence tying the three men to the crime and decrying the decades they each spent in solitary confinement. Woodfox -- who was originally imprisoned on an armed robbery conviction -- has said he had tried to point out injustices at the prison,including instances of segregation, corruption and rape, and was targeted and wrongfully accused because of his activism as a Black Panther.King was freed after his conviction in the killing of a fellow inmate was overturned in 2001.The same went for Herman Wallace, whowas released in 2013 after a judge vacated his murder conviction and sentence. He only experienced a few days of freedom; he was suffering from terminal liver cancer and died just days later.131002095356 herman wallace 1002 story body - Us Man Albart  Woodfox to be released after 43 years

    Herman Wallace was released from prison after a judge vacated his murder conviction and sentence. He died days later.

    A federal appeals court overturned Woodfox's conviction last year. But he has remained behind bars and is awaiting a third trial.
    AG balks

    That's where he should stay, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Justice told The Times-Picayune on Monday."With today's order, the court would see fit to set free a twice-convicted murderer who is awaiting trial again for the brutal slaying of Corrections Officer Brent Miller," spokesman Aaron Sadler said, according to the New Orleans newspaper.Woodfox's attorneys, George Kendall and Carine Williams, are demanding their client be released immediately, especially now that prosecutors have failed in two attempts to secure a valid conviction. "Now, because the state's key witnesses are deceased, and Mr. Woodfox's alibi witnesses are also deceased, there is no practical way for there to be a third trial which comports with the standards of a fair, American trial," the attorneys' statement said. Amnesty International praised the judge's decision as a "momentous step toward justice.""