Judith Clark, who took part in a deadly robbery of a Brink’s armored car in one of the last gasps of violent left-wing extremism in the last century, will be paroled after being imprisoned in New York for 37 years, reports the New York Times. Clark, 69, was the getaway driver in a bungled 1981 heist in a suburb of New York City in which two police officers and a guard were killed. After her arrest, Clark remained defiant. She said she was “an anti-imperialist freedom fighter” and maintained violence was “a liberating force.” During decades in prison, she said she abandoned those beliefs and faced the pain she caused the victims and their families. “I had to grapple with what happened to my humanity,” she said in 2017. She apologized and became a model of rehabilitation.
Many liberal officials viewed Clark as a symbol of the need for clemency and forgiveness, maintaining that she had to be released from prison if the state correctional system was to live up to its ideals, even in politically charged cases involving the deaths of police officers. “We are grateful that the parole board affirmed what everyone who has interacted with Judy already knows — that she is a rehabilitated, remorseful woman who poses no threat to society,” said Michael Cardozo, one of her lawyers. For law enforcement groups, many Republican officials and some victims of the shooting and their families, she deserved no mercy. “We’re outraged and sickened by this whole decision,” said Michael Paige, whose father was killed in the shooting. “Judith Clark is a murderer, plain and simple. She deserves nothing but to spend the rest of her life behind bars.” The decision to release Clark came after a lobbying campaign by many politicians and former officials.