Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted clemency to five convicted murderers during his final hours in office, arguing that they have made great strides in rehabilitation behind bars. “These individuals have shown remorse, rehabilitation and commitment to their communities,” Cuomo wrote in a tweet announcing his decision.
Among those being commuted are David Gilbert, 76, one of the gang members responsible for the notorious 1981 Brink’s robbery during which $1.6 million was stolen from a Brink’s armoured car and two police officers were killed. Gilbert was convinced of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery, and is currently facing a 75-years-to life sentence for his role in the robbery.
“While incarcerated, Mr. Gilbert has made significant contributions to AIDS education and prevention programs; he has also worked as a student tutor, law library clerk, paralegal assistant, a teacher’s aide, and an aide for various additional facility programs,” Cuomo wrote regarding his decision.
I am granting clemency to 6 people.
These individuals have shown remorse, rehabilitation and commitment to their c… https://t.co/a4ucz88QYc
— Archive: Governor Andrew Cuomo (@Archive: Governor Andrew Cuomo)
The decision does not mean those in question will automatically be released from prison. A parole hearing for all of them will follow soon.
Some people are displeased with Gilbert’s clemency, especially law enforcement in Rockland County, wherein the 1981 Brink’s robbery took place.
“It’s absurd,” Arthur Keenan Jr., a retired detective who was wounded in the robbery, told The New York Times. “[Cuomo] is stabbing all of law enforcement in the back, and when I say all, I’m talking about federal, state, local — all across the whole country — because he’s a traitor.” Similarly, Ed Day, the Rockland County executive, said Cuomo had “debased himself.”
“As if victimizing 11 women, including members of his own staff, was not despicable enough, his commutation of the 75-years-to-life sentence of David Gilbert is a further assault on the people of Rockland and New York State,” Mr. Day, a Republican, also told The New York Times. “Andrew Cuomo continues to focus on the well-being of murderers rather than the victims of these horrible offenses.”
We are thrilled that Cuomo is commuting Greg’s sentence!! He will be home with his family in mid-September.
Cuomo also granted clemency to Greg Mingo, 68, who has served 39-and-a-half-years of a 50-year-to-life sentence. Mingo and his community have continually asserted that he is innocent and was wrongfully accused and convicted, with a change.org petition asking to “Help Greg Mingo: Help bring an innocent man home” amassing over 144 thousand signatures. A website was even created — freegregmingo.com — advocating for his innocence and subsequent release.
While incarcerated, “Mr. Mingo earned his GED and a paralegal certification, enabling him to assist over a thousand other incarcerated people…Mr. Mingo has also become a dedicated and respected peer counseler, founding programs focused on fatherhood, family relationships, and domestic violence abuse, and has facilitated thousands of hours of counselling programs,” the former governor wrote.
Cuomo also commutated Ulysses Bard, 65 and Paul Clark, 59, both of whom have profiles on the cuomoletthemgo.com site campaigning for their releases, while Clark’s wife insists her husband is innocent. While incarcerated, Clark earned a GED and Associates Degree, and Boyd served as a clerk for the facility branch of NAACP and a DOCCS transitional services coordinator for over a decade.
Lastly, Cuomo pardoned Lawrence Penn, 51, who pled guilty to falsifying business records in 2015.