NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted clemency to six people in his last hours in office, , including the driver in a fatal 1981 armored truck robbery whose release was championed by his son.
Cuomo’s expected to leave office at 11:59 p.m. He already granted clemency to 10 others as his time leading New York came to a close.
“The march towards a more fair, more just, more equitable, and more empathetic New York State is a long one, but every step forward we can take it worthwhile and important,” Cuomo said Monday. “These clemencies make clear the power of redemption, encourage those who have made mistakes to engage in meaningful rehabilitation, and show New Yorkers that we can work toward a better future.”
Cuomo commuted four sentences, referred one case to the parole board, and fully pardoned one individual.
Seventy-six-year-old David Gilbert is serving a life sentence for his role in the $1.6 million theft that left a guard and two police officers dead. The governor’s office said Monday that Gilbert will be referred to the state parole board for potential release.
Steve Zeidman, the lawyer and law professor who spearheaded Gilbert’s clemency campaign, said he was overjoyed for Gilbert and his family.
Cuomo’s has issued pardons and clemencies on several occasions in recent years, with many of the pardons going to immigrants facing deportation, where a pardon could be beneficial to their attempts to be allowed to remain in the country.
Jose Saldana, director of Release Aging People in Prison Campaign, said several of the people granted clemency were “members of the RAPP family.”
“While our heart breaks for those who did not receive good news today, we double down on our commitment to keep fighting for their freedom,” Saldana said. “Despite what happened tonight, the fact remains that incoming Governor Kathy Hochul will inherit an indefensibly racist and brutal prison system and we are hopeful that she will lead our state toward a more humane system of justice for marginalized New Yorkers by using her clemency powers and championing parole reform.”