Congressman Weiner Calls on Bush to Grant Clemency to Pollard

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington DC 20515-3209

Congressman Anthony D. Weiner

August 7, 2004

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I write to request that you grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard.

Today is Mr. Pollard's 50th birthday. This is the 19th year he has celebrated his birthday in prison. No other person convicted of espionage on behalf of an United States ally has ever been imprisoned for so long.

Mr. Pollard has admitted he broke U.S. laws. He has expressed sorrow for what he did. Mr. Pollard cooperated fully with the investigation into his activities and he waived his right to a jury trial. He has served more than enough time for the crime of passing information to an ally.

The life sentence which Jonathan Pollard is now serving is not a reflection of the severity of the crimes he committed, but rather the result of ineffective counsel. In a recent review of Mr. Pollard's case, former United States District Judge George N. Leighton wrote, "[t]he evidence shows that the government engaged in serious misconduct that went unchecked by an ineffective defense counsel, Richard Hibey, and ... these constitutional violations severely prejudiced Mr. Pollard, and resulted in his sentence of life in prison."

I have been advised that Mr. Pollard has not submitted a formal petition to the Pardon Attorney of the United States Department of Justice. This is due to the Justice Department's continuing refusal to permit Mr. Pollard's attorneys access to portions of five sentencing documents in the court's docket, totalling approximately 35 to 40 pages of material. The attorneys have the appropriate security clearances to see these court documents, and they plainly have a "need to know" what is in their client's court file. Until they have been afforded access to these materials, they believe it is premature to submit any application for executive clemency or similar relief.

I hope that your administration will ensure that Mr. Pollard's security-cleared legal counsel is given an opportunity to review these documents so that they can present an effective and viable clemency application.

Mr. Pollard did commit a serious crime and he deserved to be punished for his action. However, after reviewing the facts of the case and receiving multiple classified briefings on this matter, I believe that he has served a sentence that far exceeds the appropriate term for the crime he has committed. Mr. President, the time has come to free Jonathan Pollard. As he celebrates his 50th birthday in jail, I respectfully urge you to grant him clemency and send him home to Israel.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.


Member of Congress