“Judith Clark is a murderer and a terrorist. Because of her actions, three families have been permanently deprived of husbands, father and sons. Those families cannot escape their loss, but Judith Clark will be allowed to escape accountability for her crimes. That is not justice,” he said in a statement. “The New York State Parole Board has proven once again that it does not value the rule of law or the sacrifices of the police officers who uphold those laws. The families of murdered police officers and New Yorkers across the state are crying out for sane and responsible parole decisions, but it is clear that the Parole Board is not listening.”
The Rockland County Executive, Ed Day, a former NYPD cop who has lived in Rockland County since 1983, harshly criticized the decision to parole Ms. Clark.
“Today’s ruling by the parole board is a cruel and unjust slap in the face to the families of Sergeant Edward O'Grady, Officer Waverly "Chipper" Brown and Brinks guard Peter Paige,” he said in a statement. “This perversion of justice is a sad continuation of the deadly assault on police officers happening across our nation and signals to the criminal element that it is open season on cops. The parole board and the elected officials responsible for allowing this domestic terrorist to walk free should be ashamed.”
But Ronnie Eldridge, a former City Council Member who had long pushed for Ms. Clark’s release, said the parole board’s determination was appropriate and just.
“She was a model of what’s it’s all about,” she said of Ms. Clark’s rehabilitation. “I think it’s a good sign. More people who have served a long time deserve the chance.”
She said the likelihood of Ms. Clark returning to her radical, even violent, tendencies were remote. “All the facts show that the recidivism rate for people over 60 is very low,” Ms. Eldridge said.
Her lawyer, Steven Zeidman, said she was “overwhelmed” and grateful, particularly for her supporters, but also for the parole board’s trust and Governor Cuomo, who commuted her sentence in December 2016, making her eligible for parole.
He said Ms. Clark did have an offer of employment with an organization providing for woman recently released from prison. She also would like to continue the work she was doing with the Puppies Behind Bars program, which teaches inmates to train dogs for wounded war veterans and first-responders.
Her task once released from prison, he said, is essentially to continue working on behalf of others.
“Parole is supposed to be an adjudication of who you are now,” Mr. Zeidman said Wednesday evening. “Judy is a thoughtful, generous and compassionate person. She wears the harm she caused on her sleeve. She is someone bent on repair.”
In their statement accompanying the decision to parole her, Commissioners Tana Agostini and Ellen Alexander said Ms. Clark’s “callous disregard for the wellbeing of some, in favor of others” was a “disgrace.”