disproportionality should raise eyebrows:
- James Hall, an Army officer who sold classified plans to the
Soviet Union and East Germany, was sentenced in 1989 to
40 years in jail.
- Clayton Lonetree, the Marine sergeant in Moscow, spied for
the Soviets and was sentenced in 1987 to
- Richard Miller, the first FBI agent ever tried for espionage, turned over secrets, including a counter-intelligence manual, to
the Soviets. Last year, he was sentenced to
20 years. With the time Miller has served and the judge's urging of leniency,
he could be paroled next year.
- Abdelkader Helmy, a missile researcher, was sentenced in 1989 for selling technology to
Egypt that found its way to Iraq. He got
less than five years.
- Samuel Morison, a Navy analyst, removed scores of confidential material, including photos he sold that were printed in Jane's Defense Weekly. In 1985, he was sentenced to
Papers filed in Pollard's appeal argue that the question for the court is "limits on government when its competitive zeal and retributive anger have been aroused by an unpopular defendant." If these words sound like ACLU boilerplate, the Pollard appeal is also interesting as the most recent example of what be called civil-libertarian conservatism.
Pollard's lawyer on appeal is Theodore Olson, a former Reagan Justice Department official who was victim of a groundless investigation by one of Congress's special prosecutors. Mr. Olson's decision to take on the Pollard's case follows Robert Bork's success in reversing the RICO conviction of Robert Wallach in the Wedtech case. Mr. Bork, the former judge and trashed Supreme Court nominee, is also arguing the unconstitutionality of RICO as applied to commodities traders in Chicago.
The Pollard case raises broad questions about how to treat spies for our allies, but also presents a more constantly pressing domestic issue. That is that no crime entitles prosecutors to induce plea bargains with broken promises or bullying tactics. Nothing Pollard passed on to the Israelis would harm American interests as much as a declaration by judges that there are no limits on prosecutors.
J4JP Comment: January 16, 2011
In his 1991 analysis of the Pollard case, written 2 decades ago, Crovitz cites the punishments received by others who had spied for enemies of the US around the same time that Pollard spied for an ally, Israel. The far lighter sentences in these other cases dramatically illustrate how grossly disproportionate Pollard's life sentence is. What Crovitz did not know at the time was that the actual time-served would be even less (far less) than the sentences the others had received.
To cite a few examples, here is what the actual time-served looks like:
Clayton Lonetree, sentenced to
30 years, served only
- Richard Miller, sentenced to
20 years, served only
- Abdelkader Helmy, sentenced to
4 years, served
- Samuel Morrison, sentenced to
2 years, served only
Crovitz also deals with the false charge of treason leveled at Pollard by Weinberger and the prosecution. Again, Crovitz could not know at the time he wrote that during the upcoming oral arguments the government would be called to account by the judges on this matter. Caught red-handed, the government would apologize and admit that the false charge of treason was "regrettable." Nevertheless even after acknowledging its wrong-doing, the government never took any steps to mitigate the damage that had been done to Pollard by this false charge.
It should be noted that the appeal that Crovitz writes about was not a direct appeal of Pollard's sentence, but a far more difficult to win collateral appeal. Why not a direct appeal of the sentence? When Pollard's first attorney, Richard Hibey failed to file a timely notice of intent to appeal, he forever deprived Pollard of the right to a direct appeal of his Draconian life sentence.
Pollard lost his collateral appeal on technicality: that it was filed too late. Justice Stephen Williams, one of the 3 judges that heard the appeal, filed a minority opinion, strongly opposing the negative decision of the other 2 judges (Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of them.) In his dissenting opinion, Williams terms the Pollard case, "a fundamental miscarriage of justice."
Keeping the above background information in mind, it is easy to appreciate the insight, accuracy and value of this 1991 article, by an author who was no fan or friend of Jonathan Pollard.
How much more egregious is the government misconduct described when now viewed with the hindsight of all the years that have passed since then. While others sentenced at the same time for far more serious crimes have long since gone free, Pollard continues to languish in prison, now serving year 26 of a life sentence with no end in sight.