The following letter which has just come into Justice4JP's possession
was written by Mr.Jerome J. Shestack, President of the American Bar
Association from 1997 to 1998. He wrote the letter to President
Clinton in the aftermath of the 1998 Wye River Summit at which
President Clinton committed to the release of Jonathan Pollard and then
reneged, promising to do a "speedy review" of the case.Two years
later, President Clinton is still "reviewing" the case, and Jonathan
Pollard is still in prison.
President William J. Clinton
The White House
January 11, 1999
Dear Mr. President,
I write to urge clemency as you review the punishment of Jonathan
In my career at the bar, I believe a good part of my time has been in
fighting injustice and furthering a rule of law. Basic to a rule of law
is a sense of proportion, in which the administration of justice calls
for the punishment that fits the crime. Respect for the rule of law also
encompasses elements of mercy.
Mr. Pollard has now served fourteen years for the crime of conveying
classified information to Israel, an ally of America. He was not
convicted of treason, although his sentence assumes he was. Thus it
appears that he is being punished for a crime he did not commit and
disproportionately punished for the one he did commit.
Justice William Brennan once observed that in cases of national
security, where passions are easily influenced, it is especially
important that difficult cases in the justice system be approached with
a sense of fairness and proportion.
I am sure Mr. President, that your own deep sense of fairness will not
countenance Mr. Pollard's appeal for clemency and mercy to be controlled by unverified allegations, by popular demonizing, by a lack of impartial evaluation, or by a vindictive punishment that is so out of proportion as to constitute a miscarriage of justice.
Jerome J. Shestack