The Honorable Sam Colman
The Assembly, State of New York
Room 837, Legislative Office Bldg.
Albany, NY 12248
April 3, 2000
Dear Assemblyman Colman:
Thank you for your letter of March 8 concerning Jonathan Pollard. I can only speak for myself on this difficult issue, not for anyone else, and certainly not for the Jewish-American community.
I believe that Mr. Pollard's betrayal of his country, his violation of his oath to his employer, and his dishonesty were serious breaches of law and morality. Mr. Pollard's crime strained relations between Israel and its most important ally, the United States. He was tried for his serious offenses, convicted, and sentenced in accordance with our laws.*
Notwithstanding those conclusions about the Pollard case, as a general personal policy, I believe the courts, which have access to the full breath of evidence and testimony in criminal cases, are in the best position to decide matters of guilt, innocence, and sentencing. They should do so without influence from elected legislators, or our courts will not be truly free and independent.
Throughout my twelve years in the Senate, I have followed this personal rule of non-intervention in criminal cases, including the post-sentencing parole or pardon phase that the Pollard case is now at, and that is what I am doing in the Pollard case.
Thank you again for taking the time to write.
Joseph I. Lieberman