Rabbis Saperstein & Hirsch Renew Reform's Call for Commutation

Leaders Cite Pollard Legal Case in Appeal to Clinton

Justice4JP Release - October 20, 2000

In an October 19, 2000 appeal to President Clinton citing Jonathan Pollard's new legal case, leaders of North America's largest Jewish organization renewed their call for the immediate commutation of Jonathan Pollard's sentence. The text of the letter signed by Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, Executive Director of ARZA / WORLD UNION appears below:

Mr. William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States of America
16000 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC

October 19, 2000

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing in connection with your ongoing review of the matter of Jonathan Jay Pollard. As you know, Mr. Pollard will soon complete his fifteenth year in jail.

While we have previously made known to you our strong views in favor of commutation or clemency, we wish to bring to your attention additional information that we have just learned.

On September 20, 2000, new attorneys for Mr. Pollard filed a motion for resentencing in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. We have read the papers. We enclose a copy for your review.

The papers raise issues of government misconduct that went unchecked by Mr. Pollard's then-counsel. As a result of that misconduct, and as a result of his attorney's ineffectiveness, Mr. Pollard was sentenced to life in prison on the basis of false allegations, and under circumstances that violated his plea agreement.

Perhaps most troubling, after Mr. Pollard had been sentenced to life in prison, his attorney failed to file a Notice of Appeal a simple and straightforward task that any attorney would have routinely done. By that failure, Mr. Pollard's then-counsel deprived his client of direct appellate review of the sentence, and doomed Mr. Pollard to an unreviewed sentence of life in prison.

The papers that have now been filed by new counsel seek to have Mr. Pollard resentenced on the basis of a truthful record, untainted by government misconduct, and in a manner consistent with the government's commitments under the plea agreement. The papers seek a court hearing so that the truth can finally be uncovered.

We respectfully urge you to consider this recent court submission as part of your executive review. We believe that fundamental fairness warrants an immediate commutation of Mr. Pollard's sentence.



Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, Executive Director of ARZA / WORLD UNION

See Also:
  • The Court Case 2000 Page
  • Calls For Pollard's Release
  • Hirsch & Saperstein Reaffirm Reform's Call for Release of Pollard