Like many governors, New York’s Andrew Cuomo wasn’t known for granting clemency. Until last week.
The Democrat pardoned 101 people convicted as teenagers of nonviolent crimes. He also gave a chance at parole to Judith Clark, a onetime radical involved in a 1981 Brinks armored-car holdup that led to the deaths of two police officers and a security guard.
Cuomo set out in 2015 to systematize and ramp up consideration of clemency bids, including by enlisting volunteer lawyers to help people apply. The pardon program for former 16- and 17-year-old convicts, in itself, is ultimately expected to aid over 10,000 people.
But Cuomo’s controversial decision to commute Clark’s sentence may test the openness to reprieves in New York.
Experts have considered the state one of the most guarded with clemency.