He was prosecuted as one of the Panther 21. He spent six years incarcerated at Leavenworth Penitentiary. Joseph served time for his role in the murder of Sam Napier in April 1971.
Napier was circulation manager of "The Black Panther", and was murdered as part of a series of retaliatory assassinations caused by a factional dispute within the Panthers.
Joseph was also involved in robberies committed by the BLA. Joseph was sentenced to 12½ years in prison for his role as an accomplice in the Brink"s robbery (1981), that killed two police officers and an armored car driver. One of the victims was Waverly Brown, the first African American to serve on the Nyack, New York, police force.
Joseph served 5½ years in Leavenworth, where he earned two college degrees and wrote his first play. To date, he has written five plays and two volumes of poetry.
He earned his Bachelor summa cum laude from the University of Kansas while at Leavenworth.
He is a full professor and former chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division and the artistic director of the New Heritage Theatre Group in Harlem. He has been featured on Home Box Office"s Def Poetry Jam, Black Entertainment Television"s American Gangster and on Tupac Shakur"s The Rose That Grew from Concrete Volumes 1 and 2. He is the author of the interactive biography on Tupac Shakur, Tupac Shakur Legacy.
His memoir Panther Baby was published in February 2012 by Algonquin Books.