In an end of the year move, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday commuted the sentence of Judith Clark who was involved in the 1983 Brinks armored car robbery in Rockland County that left two Nyack police officers and a guard dead.
The move came as part of a larger action that included 101 conditional pardons for inmates who were convicted of non-violent crimes when they were underage and have been crime-free for 10 years, as well as issuing five pardons, five sentence commutations and two commuted sentences including Clark's.
."New York is a state of opportunity," Cuomo said in a statement, "And today, we are granting these individuals and others a second chance to live up to their full potential, provide for their families and give back to their communities."
Clark, 67, who has served 35 of her 75-year sentence, will go before the Parole Board sometime early next year, officials said.
In his statement, Cuomo said Clark, who was the get-away car driver, received one of the longest sentences of her six co-defendants, the majority of whom are either deceased or no longer in custody.
She received the same sentence as one of the known shooters. Her only female co-defendant, Kathy Boudin, whose participation in the underlying crime was similar to Clark’s, received a 20-year minimum sentence and was paroled in 2003, and then discharged from parole supervision in 2010, the statement said
Rockland County Executive Ed Day, a former detective commander in the New York Police Department and past chief of detectives for the Baltimore Police Department, strongly criticized the decision to commute the sentence.
“Commutation of Judith Clark’s sentence is a vicious slap in the face to every member of law enforcement, the victim’s families and every person who was touched by the brutal and cowardly 1981 Brinks robbery in Rockland County that she chose to take part in," Day said.
Cuomo said that during her time at Bedford Hills, Clark has made exceptional strides in self-development. She earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Mercy College and has an extensive prison programming record including teaching pre-natal parenting courses in the nursery program, founding an HIV/AIDS education program, training service dogs in the Puppies Behind Bars program, and serving as a college tutor.
Further, she has maintained a perfect disciplinary record and lives in honor housing. Based on her original sentence, she would be 106 years old before she becomes eligible for parole, leaving her without an opportunity to appear before the parole board during her natural lifetime.
"Two Nyack police officers and a Brinks guard were killed that day. Their blood has been on Judith Clark’s hands for the last 35 years. The blood of Nyack police Sgt. Edward O'Grady, Officer Waverly "Chipper" Brown and Brinks guard Peter Paige will be on her hands until the day she dies," Day said.
Day added that Clark is a domestic terrorist and her place is behind bars.