Awaiting The Judge's Decision

Arutz7 News - September 3, 2003

No breakthrough is expected in the matter of Jonathan Pollard's release, although his attorney Eliot Lauer did say yesterday that there is a "glimmer of hope." Pollard made his first appearance in public in over 16 years yesterday when he appeared in a Washington courtroom for a 90-minute motion hearing. Rabbi Shmuel Zafrani, who accompanied Pollard's spiritual advisor, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel Mordechai Eliyahu, to the courtroom yesterday, spoke with Arutz-7 this morning about the case. "The judge did seem attentive to Pollard's case," Rabbi Zafrani said, "and even asked, 'What could possibly still be secret after 18 years?', but we can't hang too many hopes on this case." [See J4JP Note below*]

Pollard's lawyers demand a re-sentencing session, in light of the fact that his original lawyer did not file a routine appeal after the life sentence was handed down. It is still not clear why the lawyer failed to do so, but the result was that Pollard was prevented from ever submitting an appeal. The lawyers also demand access to the classified information that served as the basis for the severe sentence. They have in fact been cleared for access to such information, yet have not been allowed to see the documents in question.

Pollard himself was quiet throughout the hearing. [J4JP: the judge did not address Jonathan, which was in fact the only way that he would have been permitted to speak.] Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman said that the government "will exert all efforts to bring about Pollard's release." Rabbi Eliyahu led a prayer service on behalf of Pollard's freedom following the hearing.

*Justice4JP Note

Judge Hogan's demeanor was professional, not "somewhat sympathetic" or "attentive" as quoted in various news reports. His question about whether or not Jonathan is still in solitary confinement was simply a means of acessing whether indeed the government really believes that Jonathan still poses any danger. If the government really believed that Jonathan still knows sensitive information, he would not be in open population. Jonathan's attorney, Eliot Lauer responded that Jonathan has been in open population at FCI Butner for the last 10 years.

Judge Hogan's remark about "18-year old secret information" was not intended to question the government's insistence on denying Jonathan's attorneys access to this information, in fact, just the opposite! It was intended to question Pollards' attorneys insistence on their need to see it. Eliot Lauer responded most effectively to the judge's skepticism on this issue by pointing out that the government continued to access this "old" information repeatedly (at least 25 times) on or around the time of Jonathan Pollard's requests for clemency. This indicates that the government still considers the information relevant. If the government needs to see the information in order to oppose clemency, then surely Pollard's own attorneys have the need to see it in order to challenge their opposition.

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