The links below access individual articles and collections of articles on their own sub-pages. These represent a sampling of cases that starkly illustrate the unuallly harsh treatment and grossly disproportionate sentence that Jonathan Pollard received when compared with other recent cases of espionage for both allies and enemies of the US.
For example, compare and contrast the treatment of Jonathan Pollard with that of Steven Lalas, a Greek American who compromised the identities of American agents in the Balkans. Although Lalas did not cooperate, the Government still honored his plea agreement and sentenced him to only 14 years. Pollard's less serious offense and full cooperation with the Government netted him a life sentence, in complete violation of his plea agreement.
Worse still is the case of Lcmdr Michael Schwartz, a non-Jew who spied for Saudi Arabia, an ally of the US, and who got not a single day in prison. Compare that to the life sentence Pollard, a Jew, received for spying for a different ally, Israel. Schwartz was treated with kid gloves and given only a slap on the wrist and a kiss good-bye for his offense - dismissal from his Navy job and loss of rank and pension. Compare and contrast that with the life sentence Pollard received for a similar offense.
Even those who committed far more serious offenses and who spied for enemies of the US received far less severe sentences than Pollard. For example, compare the case of Clayton Lonetree who sold the floor plans of the American embassies in Moscow and Vienna as well as the identities of American agents to Soviet Union, a hostile country. Lonetree's 25 year sentence was soon reduced to 20. Lontree, convicted in 1987, the same year as Pollard went free in 1996, after serving only 9 years. Pollard remains in prison in the 21st century with no end in sight.
Or take the case of Albert Sombolay who spied for Iraq during the Gulf War and endangered the lives of American soldiers by selling samples of American chemical protective gear to the enemy. Sambolay got 35 years and subsequent reductions in his sentence brought it down to 19 years with further appeals pending until it just dropped off the screen. Or the case of Aldrich Ames, a high ranking CIA official who spied for the Soviet Union. Ames was responsible for the deaths of at least 11 American agents and for compromising a number of American programs. Although his crime was far more serious, Ames received the same sentence that Pollard received for his 1 count of passing classifed information to an ally - life in prison.
The stark contrast between the Pollard case and other recent cases of espionage readily illustrates why Appellate Court Justice Steven Williams described the Pollard case as, "a fundamental miscarriage of justice."
See also the Comparative Sentences charts.
(In alphabetical order by last name)