The Weinberger document, however, was then and has since remained secret, and as a result, Americans know nothing of the judge's grounds for his decision. A year or so go, when Mr. Pollard was preparing a clemency petition, not even his attorney, who had been cleared by the government to see classified information, was permitted to review Mr. Weinberger's declaration.
The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees to any accused an open trial, a right designed to allow the citizenry to monitor the fairness of the judicial process. Lawyers acknowledge that the courts have never articulated a comparable doctrine for
sentencing. Still, a sense of fairness suggests that a person should not be committed to prison for life without the public knowing why.
The government's strategy has been to leak information about Mr. Pollard's crime to the press.
The press has told us that from prison, Mr. Pollard continued to supply Israel with secrets, though most of his time has been served in solitary confinement. This leak has kept his lawyers from arguing that what their client knows is so outdated that the government can safely release him.
The issue involved here is not whether the leaks were true. The question concerns official procedures and domestic liberties. Surely, no American should have to spend a life in prison on the basis of secret proceedings.
In denying clemency to Mr. Pollard last year, President Bill Clinton spoke of the "enormity" of his crime. Maybe so, but "enormity," without evidence, is just a word. Mr. Pollard has been in prison for nearly a decade. Why not release the Weinberger memo now?
I do not subscribe to Rabbi Weiss's claim that Mr. Pollard is rotting in jail because he is a Jew. But I believe Americans deserve to know why he is.
Pollard & Haddam: Prisoners of Secret Evidence