By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
Last week the emotional wounds of the past were once again ripped open. New York Supreme Court Justice John Kelley ordered that Judith Clark receive a new parole hearing. In his ruling, he said that the State Parole Board “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in its April 2017 decision to deny Clark parole.
Clark sued the Parole Board in December for denying her release after Governor Cuomo commuted her prison sentence from 75-years-to-life to 35-years-to-life. When the Governor decided to commute the sentence of this cop-killer, he imposed another sentence on the families of Sergeant Edward O’Grady, Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown and Brinks guard Peter Paige.
Within 60 days Judith Clark will be back in front of the State Parole Board. Yet again forcing the families of these three men, who went to work on Oct. 20, 1981 and never came home, to relive the terror and tragedy of the past.
The Brinks robbery was the day that a group of domestic terrorists with links to radical groups that wanted to overthrow this nation invaded Rockland County.
Overnight, Rockland went from being a quiet, bucolic suburb where bad things rarely happened to being the center of a convoluted plot by a group of terrorists pursuing a violent ideology that made sense only to them.
Judith Clark showed nothing but contempt for our society and our system of justice. Nonetheless, she was given a fair trial. The sentencing judge found no reason to think that she could ever be rehabilitated. That judge knew how to do math: he knew that the sentence he imposed would not put her before the Parole Board until she was 107 years old.
Justice was done. I see no reason to second guess that decision. But now Sgt. Edward O’Grady’s family, along with the family of Nyack Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown and Brinks guard Peter Paige, will have to fight to keep Judith Clark where she belongs.
It is awful that our Brinks families are forced to relive this after being assured long ago that Judith Clark would never be eligible for parole.
One bit of solace for our Brinks families – they do not have to endure this agency alone. The law enforcement community both in Rockland and nationwide are with them, united in the belief that a convicted cop-killer does not deserve to walk among the free.
And I vow this now: as long as there is a breath in my body, I will stand united with these families and my brothers and sisters in law enforcement to fight to keep Judith Clark where she belongs – in prison.