Lawyers for Judith Clark, the getaway driver in the 1981 Brink's robbery and shootout that claimed the lives of two Nyack police officers and an armed guard, are appealing the state's parole board denial of her bid for early release in April.
The attorneys, Michael Cardozo and Steven Zeidman, plan to file a lawsuit in state Supreme Court challenging the decision, saying the parole board used illegitimate reasons to deny the bid after Gov. Andrew Cuomo commuted her sentence to a minimum 35 years in January, making her eligible this year.
Clark, 67, the third-longest-serving woman in New York, was sentenced to 75 years to life, has been behind bars for 36 years.
"New York courts have repeatedly ruled that...the seriousness of the crime of conviction, something that can never be changed, is not a legitimate basis for denying parole, and yet that is exactly what the Parole Board did here," the lawyers said in a statement.
Law enforcement and government officials across the area expressed shock and dismay following the governor's move.
“Judith Clark needs to spend the rest of her life behind bars to pay her debt to society,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said after she was denied parole. “She is a domestic terrorist who does not deserve to walk among the free.”
The robbers shot Brink's guard Peter Paige dead while stealing $1.6 million in cash from the armored car at the Nanuet Mall in Nanuet. The fleeing suspects were eventually trapped at a roadblock in Nyack, where the second gunfight occurred and the two officers -- Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown -- were killed at a roadblock in Nyack. Brown was the first African-American member of the Nyack Police Department.
Clark, who is at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, was a radical political activist in the 1960s and ‘70s. A member of the Weather Underground Organization, she took part in many political agitation and criminal activities.
Even after the WUO was dissolved, she worked with other extremist groups such as the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army.
Seriously wounded in the Nanuet attack was Brink's guard Joseph Trombino. He survived, only to be killed in 2001 in the 9/11 attacks.
Clark's next parole hearing is set for April 2019.
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