Parole for a terrorist: Cuomo was wrong to grant clemency to David Gilbert

·2 min read

Andrew Cuomo’s final act as governor was to wrongly grant a proudly admitted, convicted terrorist, a man guilty of the felony murders of police officers, a likely ticket to freedom. David Gilbert was part of the Weather Underground who still has 35 years on his 75-year sentence for the Oct. 20, 1981 robbery in Rockland County where Brink’s guard Peter Paige and Police Officers Edward O’Grady and Waverly Brown were heinously gunned down by his friends.

Cuomo’s clemency to Gilbert and five other men came with just hours remaining before he departed his office, having resigned. He should have left Gilbert off the list.

Unlike some clemency cases, here was no miscarriage of justice or failure to have a lawyer or the police or prosecution withholding evidence. Gilbert was no mixed-up kid. He wasn’t poor, or uneducated, or a racial minority defendant with the cards stacked against him. He was a 37-year-old, highly intelligent, committed revolutionary, a nice Jewish boy who graduated from Columbia and then became a terrorist.

His fellow Brink’s terrorist Judy Clark, who also had a 75-year sentence after she and Gilbert arrogantly refused to recognize the authority of the court, was given a chance at parole in 2016 by Cuomo, citing her supposedly amazing transformation in prison. Clark was denied parole and then freed on a second appearance in 2019.

Another Brink’s accomplice was Gilbert’s girlfriend Kathy Boudin. She took her lawyer’s advice and got 20 years. The infant son who they left with a babysitter while they went to their crime, Chesa Boudin, was raised by others and is now the San Francisco district attorney. He pressed for his dad’s release.

The Parole Board must carefully apply the law with Gilbert, as they failed to do with Clark. That means they can’t deny him access to documents or other records for the proceedings. Gilbert has been a model prisoner and claims he is remorseful. We bet he is; 40 years in prison is not fun. But freed or not, he will always remain a terrorist.