"The American justice system has not worked in this case."
Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's legal options are "narrowing literally to nothing" after another court rejected the appeal of his 1987 life sentence, according to a longtime supporter and adviser to his legal team.
Kenneth Lasson, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, said the only legal options remaining are an appeal for a hearing before the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals or an appeal to the Supreme Court, but "both are extreme long shots."
Last week a three-judge panel denied Pollard's appeal that he was inadequately represented in this 1987 sentencing hearing, affirming a lower-court ruling that he had waited too long to file an appeal, and rejected the request that his attorneys be given access to the still-classified documents that are seen as a major factor in his unusually stiff sentence.
Lasson said the judges "ruled on technical, procedural grounds and in our opinion missed the forest for the trees. They should have moved beyond that and ruled on the merits of the case, or given him a new trial."
Pollard, incarcerated at a federal prison in North Carolina, wasn't so reticent.
In a release, Justice for Jonathan Pollard called the ruling a "perversion of justice" and the court a "kangaroo court."
Lasson said efforts to free Pollard, now in his 20th year in prison, must now focus on his clemency request.
"What's needed now is a concerted effort by the American Jewish community, and particularly by Israel," he said. "The American justice system, which usually works well, has not worked in this case."