[sixties-l] Kathy Boudin, 60's Radical, Denied Parole

From: radtimes (resist@best.com)
Date: Mon Aug 27 2001 - 18:02:40 EDT

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    Kathy Boudin, 60's Radical, Denied Parole



    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Kathy Boudin, a one-time member of the radical
    Weather Underground who was convicted of murder and robbery in
    connection with a 1981 Brink's armored car heist in New York, was
    denied parole on Wednesday.

      A security guard and two police officers were killed in the Oct.
    20, 1981, robbery and subsequent roadblock shootout with police in
    suburban Rockland County just north of New York City.

      It was Boudin's first appearance before the parole board. She was
    ordered held for at least another two years.

      State parole officials, who interviewed Boudin at the Bedford
    Hills state prison for women in Westchester County where she has
    been held since her sentencing in 1984, said Boudin's release would
    "undermine respect for the law."

      Boudin was interviewed by a two-member parole board panel for just
    over 45 minutes on Wednesday morning.

      Boudin, 58, is serving a 20 years-to-life sentence. She was part
    of the getaway team for six armed radicals who robbed the Brink's
    truck of $1.6 million.

      Leonard Weinglass, Boudin's lawyer, said, "It's a sad day for
    Kathy. She was sentenced to 20 years by a judge who sat on her case
    for two and a half years and knew all the facts, and she did her 20
    years with honor. And for the system now not to keep its promise to
    someone who has been on exemplary behavior for two decades
    undermines respect for the law."

      Boudin's parole had been opposed by relatives of the slain
    officers and the security guard, law enforcement officials and by
    Gov. George Pataki, who appoints the members of the parole board.

      Supporters of Boudin had argued that she had turned her life
    around while in prison, working to help inmates with AIDS and
    earning a master's degree in adult education while behind bars.

      Boudin, who had a year-old son when arrested, also developed a
    program on parenting behind bars and helped write a handbook for
    inmates whose children are in foster care.

      Linda Foglia, a spokeswoman for the state prison system, said that
    during her more than 17 years at Bedford Hills, Boudin had just
    three minor discipline infractions and none since 1989.

      While the parole board noted her good behavior in prison, the
    officials also said that "due to the violent nature and
    circumstances" of the crime, "your release at this time would be
    incompatible with the welfare of society and would serve to
    deprecate the seriousness of the criminal behavior."

      "We're satisified that the justice system worked. The parole board
    made the right decision based on the heinous nature and violence of
    this crime," said Rockland County Sheriff Jim Kralik.

      "Nobody is gloating over this. This is a tragedy for all involved.
    We're convinced that justice was served, and that the penalty
    requires much more than just a minimum of 20 years for the
    well-thought-out, well-planned murder of police officers and a
    security officer."

      "It comes down to a very important question of redemption versus
    justice and penalty. We weren't interested in vengeance."

      Norma Hill, who witnessed the murder of the officers, testified
    against Boudin and later, as a prison volunteer, met and befriended
    her, said she was "deeply disappointed" in the parole board ruling,
    but "I feel optimistic that she will make it the next time, and I
    will continue to support her."

      Boudin had been considered a long-shot for parole given the
    notoriety of her crime and the fact that in New York only about 5
    percent of inmates serving time for murder are paroled when they
    are first eligible.

      Also, Pataki, who is expected to face a tough battle for a third
    term next year, had made it clear he didn't want her released.

      "Please know that I, too, am strongly opposed to the release of
    Ms. Boudin, whose cowardly acts of terrorism in October of 1981
    shattered so many innocent lives," the governor wrote in a May 23
    letter to Diane O'Grady, the widow of Sgt. Edward O'Grady.

      Following the parole board's decision, Pataki issued a statement
    saying he strongly supported the denial. "My thoughts and prayers
    go out to the families" of the victims, the governor said.

      O'Grady and fellow Nyack police officer Waverly Brown were gunned
    down by the gang when their U-Haul truck being used as the getaway
    vehicle was stopped at a roadblock in Nyack at an entrance to the
    New York State Thruway. Killed earlier that day in the robbery was
    Brink's guard Peter Paige.

    Boudin eventually pleaded guilty to felony murder for her part in
    the killing of the Brink's guard. Other members of the gang were
    sentenced to much longer prison terms.

      Among the others accused was Susan Rosenberg, but charges against
    her were dropped after she was sentenced to 58 years for weapons
    possession in a separate case. When President Bill Clinton commuted
    her sentence in January, those close to the Brink's victims were

      At a rally last month in Nyack, hundreds of area residents held
    glowing blue lightsticks as they walked through the darkness from a
    park alongside the Hudson River to a post office to mail tens of
    thousands of anti-parole letters to the governor and the state
    parole board.

      Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, who had addressed
    the July rally, said Wednesday that he was pleased by the decision.

      "My opinion is that no matter how good one is in jail, there is
    the issue of punishment which is appropriate when a police officer
    is killed," he said.

      But Lynn Temple, a member of the Nyack-based "Friends and
    Supporters of Kathy Boudin" group said, "The truth of the matter is
    that she was not directly involved in the killings. She had no gun
    in her possession." "We were prepared for this and we're prepared
    to spend the next two years trying to educate the public as to what
    really happened," Temple said.

      But state Assemblyman Alexander Gromack, a Rockland County
    Republican, said, "While she may not have pulled the trigger
    herself, the blood of those three men still stains her hands."

      Boudin, daughter of civil rights attorney Leonard Boudin, became a
    radical activist in the 1960s. Before the Brink's job, she had last
    been seen in 1970, naked, outside a townhouse in Greenwich Village
    after a bomb that was being assembled there killed three members of
    the Weather Underground.

      She later signed on with Black Liberation Army members and other
    radicals who were planning to rob the Brink's armored car and
    apparently wanted to have white people driving the getaway vehicle
    to throw off pursuers.

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