PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
2810 Now Mexico Ave., NW.
Washington, DC 20007
January 10, 1990
I hope this note finds you well and I pray that the now year brings you only good health and happiness.
I have delayed responding to your letter of November 22 until I completed certain checks and could be certain of what I was going to be saying. I have now completed my checks and I am confident that Jonathan Pollard never provided information to Israel regarding American satellite (or other) surveillance of Israeli supplied missiles or weapons in South Africa. Indeed, Pollard was never even accused - formally or informally - of providing any such information to Israel.
This fact is of critical importance in light of what you told me in confidence: namely, that Judge Robinson had told you that one of the reasons he sentenced Pollard to life imprisonment was because Pollard provided to Israel satellite information about Israeli supplied missiles to South Africa.
If I am correct that Pollard provided no such information, then it is possible that the prosecution was pandering to Judge Robinson's hatred of South Africa. As an Afro-American, Judge Robinson could be expected to react strongly to any suggestion that Pollard was part of the Israeli-South African connection. If the government did pander in this racially sensitive manner, it behaved outrageously, especially if the information it provided to Judge Robinson was not true. I would be very interested in your reaction to this matter.
On the issue of disparate sentencing in general, you were justifiably critical of the sentencing chart I had sent you. But that was not prepared by my assistants, it was provided to us by the prosecutors. In any event, the relevant comparison, in my view, is not between Pollard and Soviet spies spies, but rather between Pollard and spies for countries with whom we have friendly relations and with whom we regularly exchange security information. It is, of course, no defense for Pollard to argue that he provided information only to a friendly nation. But it should affect his sentence, especially since there is no evidence that anything he provided Israel got beyond the secure intelligence agencies of that friendly ally. Our fairly thorough research of the precedents has revealed no sentence even close to life imprisonment for anyone who has ever spied for an ally. Moreover, an far as Pollard's parole eligibility is concerned, the prosecutor has publicly announced that it is the position of the U.S. government that Pollard should never be paroled. In these kinds of cases, the government's position often carries conclusive weight.
In light of all these factors, I still believe that Pollard's sentence was disproportionately harsh. In light of the developments occurring throughout the world, I hope that some mercy will eventually be shown to this overzealous but basically decent man.
With every good wish.
Alan M Dershowitz
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