Former Deputy Attorney General and Harvard Law Professor Philip B. Heymann sent a letter to President Barack Obama, in which he formally requested that Jonathan Pollard be released from prison (the full text of the letter appears below).
In his letter, Heymann, who served as Deputy Attorney General from 1993-1994 under President Bill Clinton, noted to the President that he had the opportunity to thoroughly review Jonathan Pollard’s classified Justice Department file, and stated that based upon his personal knowledge of the case and the circumstances regarding Pollard’s arrest and sentencing, he supports a commutation of Pollard’s prison sentence.
“Having reviewed the Pollard file at length as Deputy Attorney General in 1993-1994, I enthusiastically join the many distinguished others who are now urging you to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard,” wrote Professor Heymann. “Like Jim Woolsey and Dennis DeConcini, I know the record thoroughly and fully share their conclusions.”
Philip B. Heymann is the James Barr Ames Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. In addition to serving as Deputy Attorney General, Heymann has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney General, Criminal Division; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of International Organizations; Former Associate Prosecutor & Consultant to Watergate Special Force; and Clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Harlan.
“Pollard’s conviction was justified but his sentence was entirely out-of-line with others engaging in similar behavior and it was made less-than-legitimate by a treacherous recommendation of the then Secretary of Defense,” wrote Heymann. “There is no evidence that Pollard intended to harm the United States or help its enemies”
With his letter to the President, Heymann joins a wide array of individuals from the national intelligence arena and the legal world who have called for Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to be commuted, including former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, 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.
In addition, thirty-nine members of Congress recently 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 recently sent a letter to President Obama, in which they called on the President to commute Pollard’s sentence.
Jonathan Pollard, who recently began his 26th year in federal prison, 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.
The following is the text of the letter to President Obama:
25 January 2011
The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20500-0001
Dear Mr. President:
Having reviewed the Pollard file at length as Deputy Attorney General in 1993-1994, I enthusiastically join the many distinguished others who are now urging you to commute the sentence of Jonathan Pollard. Like Jim Woolsey and Dennis DeConcini, I know the record thoroughly and fully share their conclusions. Like Secretary of State George Shultz, I particularly admire the precise statement of the issues by former Attorney General Mukasey.
Pollard’s conviction was justified but his sentence was entirely out-of-line with others engaging in similar behavior and it was made less-than-legitimate by a treacherous recommendation of the then Secretary of Defense. There is no evidence that Pollard intended to harm the United States or help its enemies. Having already served a severe sentence; Pollard is now supported by political and religious leaders across the political spectrum in seeking a commutation. I join them with deep conviction as to the justice of their shared cause.
Philip B. Heymann