Commutation - not parole - is the only viable option for Jonathan Pollard

J4JP News - December 26, 2012

Background following release of declassified 1987 CIA Damage Assessment

For the last 28 years, every attempt to seek relief from Jonathan Pollard's life sentence has been stymied. Even the possibility of parole has been denied since the US government placed an insurmountable obstacle in the path of his security-cleared attorneys, unjustly denying them access to the secret portions of their own client's file. Without that access, those who oppose parole are free to fabricate reasons for keeping him in prison, without challenge.

Furthermore, post conviction legal experts (experts on parole) caution strongly against an application for parole. They say that, absenting access for his attorneys to the secret files, the parole board is certain to refuse parole and may well exacerbate Mr. Pollard's situation by imposing a 15 year set aside rule. Pollard would then have to wait another 15 years before he could apply for parole again. This, say the experts would add a severe impediment to any application for presidential clemency via commutation of his sentence to time served. It would also provide a convenient excuse for not even looking at the case again for another 15 years.

As Jonathan's attorneys have explained:

Applying for parole is not an option for Mr. Pollard, because of a severe impediment which has been unilaterally imposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ has refused to allow Mr. Pollard's current attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman (both of whom have the appropriate Top Secret/SCI-eligible security clearances), from seeing the documents that were submitted to the sentencing judge prior to Mr. Pollard's sentencing in 1987. Although Mr. Pollard's lawyers have a clear "need to know," the DOJ has refused to allow them to see their client's entire court file, which is partly under seal. Without access to that file, persons opposed to parole know that they have free reign to say absolutely anything about Mr. Pollard without any risk that they will be contradicted by the documents.

The impediment cited above, hidden behind a veil of secrecy, has hamstrung all of Pollard's efforts to bring his case back to court, and in the process all legal remedies have been exhausted.

The case has been appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court, which has refused to hear it more than once.

Executive clemency, through commutation of Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served, by the President of the USA is the only viable option.

In the light of recent revelations from a newly declassified 1987 CIA damage assessment, coupled with revelations from a 1987 Justice Department damage assessment (The Victim Impact Statement) there is absolutely no excuse for Jonathan Pollard's continued incarceration. See Jerusalem Post Editorial: CIA game changer for details. Consequently, it is incumbent upon President Barack Obama to commute Jonathan Pollard's sentence to time served without any further delay.

Jonathan Pollard should not have to spend another minute in jail.

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