A woman who served as the getaway driver for the radical organization the Weather Underground has been granted parole after serving a 37-year prison sentence.
On Wednesday, the New York state parole board granted early release to Judith Clark, 69, who was arrested in 1981 after driving the getaway car for an attempted bank robbery in Rockland County, New York, which took the lives of two state police officers and a security guard. The heist was orchestrated by the radical left-wing organization the Weather Underground, which wanted to steal $1.6 million from a Brink’s armored car at a mall to fund a militant uprising.
Clark was initially unrepentant in court, telling the judge she was an “anti-imperialist freedom fighter” and that the trial was “fascist.” She was eventually convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, and was sentenced to 75 years to life in prison. (Mutulu Shakur, the alleged mastermind of the heist, is still in prison and is due for release in 2024.)
Clark later became a model prisoner and expressed remorse for her crimes, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to grant her clemency in 2016, making her eligible for parole. Her 2017 appeal for parole, however, was denied, with the parole board members telling Clark she was “a symbol of violent and terroristic crime.” She since became a symbol of leniency among prison reform advocates, with her supporters arguing that she had fulfilled the requirements of her sentence and had been sufficiently rehabilitated.
“Justice has finally been served, overdue but realized. We hope Judith Clark’s release opens up the gates to other women and men who have been amply rehabilitated. Let this be the start of real reform for the Parole Board,” Allen Roskoff, president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, an LGBT Democratic club in New York, told the New York Post.