Beverly Hills Urges Clinton to Pardon Pollard

Norman Blum - California Press Bureau - Beverly Hills Today

September 17, 1993

The Beverly Hills City Council has followed the lead of the Los Angeles City Council and other Southland politicians in urging President Clinton to commute the life sentence of Jonathan Jay Pollard to time already served.

Despite the fact that Pollard pled guilty to one count of transmitting national security information to a friendly foreign government, he was, with the special instigation of then Secretary of Defense Weinberger, sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

The Beverly Hills resolution noted that "Mr. Pollard was neither charged nor convicted of the more serious offense of disclosing classified information with reason to believe that such information will injure this country, or the more serious national security offense of treason."

"As an intelligence specialist for the United States Navy, Mr. Pollard believed that the United States was failing to live up to its treaty obligations by withholding information from Israel that jeopardized its safety."

The resolution also notes that Pollard was placed in solitary confinement at the Maximum security Prison at Marion, Illinois, one of the toughest in the country - even though there was nothing in his sentence or his behavior calling for solitary confinement.

The resolution says that while the council does not wish to condone his wrongful conduct, "the actual punishment he received, a life sentence, was disproportionately harsh. Other individuals who have been convicted of providing classified information to enemy nations, a far more serious and egregious offense, received substantially shorter sentences." The resolution notes the lesser sentences that such spies as Sgt. Lonetree, John A. Walker, Michael Walker and former FBI man, Richard Miller received.

The resolution noted that while the appellate court held that Pollard was note entitled to withdraw his guilty plea, a dissenting judge noted that "the inflammatory rhetoric used by the government during the sentencing, along with a memorandum from then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger which incorrectly labeled Mr. Pollard's activities "treason" violated the spirit of the plea agreement."

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