Congressman Bob Turner (R-NY) Calls On Obama To Free Pollard
February 23, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Troodler
REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN CALLS ON OBAMA TO FREE POLLARD
Republican Congressman Robert Turner of New York recently wrote to President Obama and asked that he commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served (the full text of the letter appears below and a copy is attached).
The Congressman recently met with Jonathan Pollard in prison and pledged to do whatever he could to support the numerous calls for clemency that have been made to date.
In his correspondence to the President, Turner focuses on Pollard's grossly disproportionate sentence. He acknowledges that other American officials have cited additional reasons for the commutation of Pollard's sentence to time served, but states that for him the disproportionate nature of Pollard's sentence is the single most compelling reason that Pollard must be freed.
"Jonathan Pollard has served 26 years in federal prison for his crime, and questions exist regarding the disparity between the length of his sentence and those convicted of similar crimes," Turner wrote in his letter to the President. "He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has served as a model prisoner."
"I believe the length of Jonathan Pollard's incarceration has satisfied the demands of justice and has been sufficient to deter those who might otherwise be tempted to engage in such criminal acts," continued Turner. "The commutation of sentence to time served would, therefore, be an appropriate exercise of compassion and executive discretion."
Congressman Turner, who was elected in September 2011 to represent New York's 9th Congressional District, is the first Republican to be elected to that Congressional seat since the 1920's. Turner, who served in the United States Army in the 1960's, currently serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
Turner's letter to President Obama comes in the wake of numerous calls for clemency for Pollard from prominent government officials, high-ranking individuals in the national intelligence arena, leading professionals in the legal world, and renowned religious and communal leaders.
The major decision makers who were intimately involved in the Pollard case and who were most informed on the impact of Pollard's actions have issued public calls for Pollard's release, including former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senator David Durenberger, who served as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time of Pollard's conviction, former Congressman Lee Hamilton, who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Jonathan Pollard's sentencing, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, and former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane, who served under President Ronald Reagan at the time when Pollard was investigated and ultimately charged with disclosing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States.
In addition, former CIA Director James Woolsey and former Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator Dennis DeConcini, each of whom reviewed the classified intelligence reports about the Pollard case, have publically called for Pollard's release.
Former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum and former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, each of whom is fully aware of all of the contents of Pollard's classified file and with the facts and circumstances of this case, have long been on record calling for Pollard's release.
In addition, some of the other prominent American leaders who have called for clemency for Pollard include former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Republican Senator John McCain, and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer.
Further, a bi-partisan group of eighteen prominent former United States Senators, including four of whom are former Chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and one of whom is a former U.S. Attorney and well-known federal prosecutor, recently called on President Obama to commute Pollard's sentence.
Jonathan Pollard has spent more than 26 years of an unprecedented life sentence languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States. The median sentence for this offense is 2 to 4 years. No one else in the history of the United States has ever received a life sentence for this offense.
Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his more than two-and-a-half decades in prison.
Despite the fact that Pollard entered into a plea agreement and fully cooperated with the prosecution in his case, he nonetheless received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled, which was in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government.
The following is the text of the Congressman Turner's letter to President Obama:
February 17, 2012
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Re: Clemency for Jonathan Pollard
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing today to join the long list of Members of Congress, former Cabinet members, diplomats, religious leaders and other distinguished Americans urging you to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard and commute his sentence to time served.
I will not minimize the severity of Jonathan Pollard's crime nor his guilt, nor will I cast any aspersions upon the process by which he was convicted and sentenced. While others have raised concerns regarding these issues, a grant of clemency does not concern such matters.
Jonathan Pollard has served 26 years in federal prison for his crime, and questions exist regarding the disparity between the length of his sentence and those convicted of similar crimes. He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has served as a model prisoner.
I believe the length of Jonathan Pollard's incarceration has satisfied the demands of justice and has been sufficient to deter those who might otherwise be tempted to engage in such criminal acts. The commutation of sentence to time served would, therefore, be an appropriate exercise of compassion and executive discretion.
In light of the above, I ask that you grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard. Thank you for your kind consideration.
Robert L. Turner
Member of Congress