The district attorney is making a renewed push for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to release his long-jailed father, as a COVID-19 outbreak hits the maximum security prison where he's incarcerated.
One of the reasons that San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is a progressive cause célèbre — and so universally reviled by right-wing media — is his compelling life story, having been raised by adoptive parents because his mother and father were in prison for his entire boyhood. His mother, Kathy Boudin, was paroled in 2003 after serving 22 years for her role in the 1981 Weather Underground botched Brink’s bank truck robbery that left two officers and a security guard dead, and his father, David Gilbert, has been in prison since 1983 for the same. But as COVID-19 prison outbreaks mount up across the country, SFGate reports that Boudin is asking for clemency in requests to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The move comes after a separate request for Gilbert's clemency last week, reported by the Chronicle, that was signed by 45 faith leaders, including Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, and Mohandas Gandhi’s granddaugther. Also appealing to Gov. Cuomo since the prison in question is in his state, they wrote that “We see daily that elders in prison, especially those with compromised immune systems and underlying health concerns, are in grave danger and many have died. For us, like you and your father before you, opposition to the death penalty is a religious and moral principle.”
New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision data shows that in that state, there have been 3,400 coronavirus cases and 23 deaths in the prison system. Boudin told the Chronicle there are more than 100 cases at his father maximum security prison, Shawangunk Correctional Facility.
“I’m worried my father could die of COVID-19 in prison. He has always expressed great remorse for the victims and he has never tried to deny or minimize the role he played in a serious crime,” he added, to SFGate. “There is no compelling reason for my father to remain incarcerated.”
Per SFGate, “Cuomo has granted clemency to 104 individuals in nine years.”
Boudin also notes to the Chronicle that “I haven’t seen my father since December of last year,” and that “It’s one of the longest times in my lifetime — if not the longest — I’ve gone without visiting him, and I wish I could go see him.”
Image: @chesaboudin via Twitter