Senator Alan Simpson: Pollard’s Sentence Severely Disproportionate, A Gross Miscarriage Of Justice

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senator-alan-k-simpsonFormer Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming is the latest American leader to call for Jonathan Pollard’s release. Senator Simpson recently sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard’s sentence to time served (the full text of the letter appears below).

Pollard has spent more than 25 years languishing in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel, an ally of the United States.

“It is patently clear that Mr. Pollard’s sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice,” wrote Simpson in his letter to the President. “Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency – as well as a matter of basic compassion and American justice.”

Senator Simpson noted that Pollard “is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence (seven of which were spent in solitary confinement)” despite the fact that “[h]e was indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States – an offense that normally results in a 2-4 year sentence.” Simpson reminded the President that Pollard “pled guilty under a plea agreement with which he fully complied but which was ignored by the sentencing judge.”

“After more than two decades in the harshest prison conditions, Mr. Pollard’s health is declining,” wrote Simpson. “He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has been a model prisoner.”

Senator Simpson served in the United States Senate from 1979-1997. He spent many years as a well-respected member of the Republican leadership, serving as Senate Majority Whip from 1985-1987 and Senate Minority Whip from 1987-1995. Simpson served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs from 1995-1997 and from 1981-1985.

In 2010, President Obama appointed Senator Simpson to co-chair his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform together with co-chair Erskine Bowles, who served as President Bill Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff. As co-chair, Senator Simpson is tasked with spearheading an effort to lower the federal budget deficit and proposing ways to control the rising costs of various government programs.

In addition, from 1997-2000 Senator Simpson taught at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and he served as the Director of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School for two years.

Senator Simpson’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.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip Heymann, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, each of whom had the opportunity to thoroughly review Pollard’s classified file and is fully familiar with the circumstances of his case, have called for Pollard’s release.

Henry Kissinger, who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and who was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the time of Pollard’s sentencing, sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he commute Pollard’s sentence to time served.

Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Congressman from Indiana who served as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Jonathan Pollard’s sentencing, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and is currently member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, also called on President Obama to free Pollard.

In addition, a wide array of American leaders have called for a commutation of Pollard’s sentence, including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Senator John McCain of Arizona, former Arkansas governor and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Arlen Specter, Senator Charles Schumer of New York, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former New York City Mayor and former Republican Presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani, Congressman Michael Grimm of New York, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, well-known conservative leader Gary Bauer, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh of Notre Dame, well-known Christian leader Pat Robertson, Pastor John Hagee, and Harvard Law Professor Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s law professor at Harvard and remains friends with them today.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also recently sent a letter to President Obama calling for Pollard’s release.

In addition, several months ago thirty-nine members of Congress submitted a “Dear Colleague” letter led by Congressman Barney Frank in support of commuting Jonathan Pollard’s sentence. Further, a broad-based interfaith coalition comprised of more than 500 members of the clergy and community leaders sent a letter to President Obama in January 2011 in which they called on the President to commute Pollard’s sentence.

Jonathan Pollard recently wrote a letter containing a personal appeal for clemency to President Obama, which was hand-delivered to the President by Israeli President Shimon Peres. Peres also raised the issue of clemency for Pollard in a White House meeting with President Obama several weeks ago.

Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. His health has deteriorated significantly during his two-and-a-half decades in prison.

Pollard’s life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations. 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 Senator Simpson’s letter to President Obama:

April 25, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I join many other distinguished Americans to request that you exercise your power of clemency and commute Jonathan Pollard’s prison sentence to time served.

Mr. Pollard is currently serving his 26th year of a life sentence (seven of which were spent in solitary confinement). He was indicted on one count of passing classified information to an ally without intent to harm the United States – an offense that normally results in a 2-4 year sentence. He pled guilty under a plea agreement with which he fully complied but which was ignored by the sentencing judge.

I do not condone espionage, nor do I underestimate the gravity of Pollard’s crime. But it is patently clear that Mr. Pollard’s sentence is severely disproportionate and (as several federal judges have noted) a gross miscarriage of justice.

Religious leaders from all faiths and prominent national figures have publicly stated their support for Mr. Pollard’s release: VP Dan Quayle, Senators McCain, Specter, DeConcini, Bennett, Congressman Barney Frank and thirty-nine Democrat members of the House, Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Rev. Hesburgh of Notre Dame, Benjamin Hooks of the NAACP, Evangelist leader Pat Robertson, former federal judge Leighton, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olsen, Gary Bauer, Pastor John Hagee, and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. Perhaps most noteworthy, similar support has come from those who have seen the classified information of the damage that Pollard caused – former CIA Director James Woolsey, Congressman Anthony Weiner, former Deputy Attorney General Phillip Heymann, and former head of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Dennis DeConcini.

After more than two decades in the harshest prison conditions, Mr. Pollard’s health is declining. He has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions, and by all accounts has been a model prisoner.

Commuting his sentence to time served would be a wholly appropriate exercise of your power of clemency – as well as a matter of basic compassion and American justice.

Respectfully and sincerely,

Alan Simpson

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}

4 COMMENTS

  1. Great! Another “former” gives his opinion. They didn’t do anything when they could. Now, when they are out they talk.

    Yakov Uvinu asked Yosef Hatzadik, while he was king, to take care of him and bury him because he had the power to do something. Not afterwards when he is a “has-been”

  2. None of this matters because the DOJ Office of the Pardon Attorney has made it clear that Pollard will NOT be considered for clemency because he has NOT applied for parole. Until Pollard applies for parole Matzav and the rest of these sites should stop wasting our time reporting all the people who say Pollard should be released.

  3. Look folks.
    He is not going to be released until say Oprah voices in. For sure if you want Mr. Pollard out, speak to Oprah.

  4. Parole is Impossible

    Pollard’s “pro-bono attorneys have done and continue to do everything that can be done, within the legal field, to gain Jonathan’s freedom,” Rabbi Lerner wrote. “They are outstanding professionals, stymied only by a judicial system that is strongly biased against Jonathan… The [relevant] law enforcement and intelligence agency officials… have indicated that they would oppose parole… Parole is a virtual impossibility under those circumstances. Every legal expert the Pollard camp has spoken to, and there have been many, told them that the parole board would reject Jonathan’s request out of hand.”

    However, even worse than the rejection itself is the fact that it could lead to a 15-year delay before the next parole request can be submitted. This 15-year “set aside” means “the case cannot be revisited for another 15 years,” the rabbi writes, which would be “catastrophic for any clemency request that might be made within that time period. In short, a parole request is absolutely the wrong avenue to follow.”

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