President of the American Bar Association Writes to President Clinton

Justice4JP Release - July 17, 2000

The following letter which has just come into Justice4JP's possession was written by Mr.Jerome J. Shestack, President of the American Bar Association from 1997 to 1998. He wrote the letter to President Clinton in the aftermath of the 1998 Wye River Summit at which President Clinton committed to the release of Jonathan Pollard and then reneged, promising to do a "speedy review" of the case.Two years later, President Clinton is still "reviewing" the case, and Jonathan Pollard is still in prison.

President William J. Clinton
The White House
Washington, DC

January 11, 1999

Dear Mr. President,

I write to urge clemency as you review the punishment of Jonathan Pollard.

In my career at the bar, I believe a good part of my time has been in fighting injustice and furthering a rule of law. Basic to a rule of law is a sense of proportion, in which the administration of justice calls for the punishment that fits the crime. Respect for the rule of law also encompasses elements of mercy.

Mr. Pollard has now served fourteen years for the crime of conveying classified information to Israel, an ally of America. He was not convicted of treason, although his sentence assumes he was. Thus it appears that he is being punished for a crime he did not commit and disproportionately punished for the one he did commit.

Justice William Brennan once observed that in cases of national security, where passions are easily influenced, it is especially important that difficult cases in the justice system be approached with a sense of fairness and proportion.

I am sure Mr. President, that your own deep sense of fairness will not countenance Mr. Pollard's appeal for clemency and mercy to be controlled by unverified allegations, by popular demonizing, by a lack of impartial evaluation, or by a vindictive punishment that is so out of proportion as to constitute a miscarriage of justice.

Jerome J. Shestack

See Also:
  • Is Jonathan Pollard a Camp David Bargaining Chip?
  • Camp David: Barak, Pollard and the Steel Trap
  • Netanyahu Reveals Clinton Double-Cross On Pollard Release
  • Peace Process Or Spin Politics?