Convicted Spy Jonathan Pollard Loses Latest Bid For Freedom

Anne Gearan - AP - November 13, 2003


- A federal judge turned down convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's latest attempt to reduce the life sentence he received for passing military secrets to Israel while working as an intelligence analyst for the Navy.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said Pollard waited too long to try to contest the 1987 sentence and did not make a convincing case that he got poor legal help from the high-powered stable of lawyers who have worked for him over the years.

[J4JP: In his decision, the judge did NOT address the merits of the case. He dismissed Jonathan's motion on technical procedural grounds only.]

Hogan also refused a request from Pollard's latest legal team to see secret documents the Reagan administration submitted to the judge who imposed the sentence 16 years ago.

[J4JP: The 5 documents in question are a part of Jonathan's own sentencing docket; two of the documents were authored by Jonathan himself.]

Pollard's lawyers say they need to see the material to rebut government arguments against any new appeal or against a request for presidential clemency.

"Mr. Pollard has couched his claims in alleged violations of constitutional rights, such as ineffective assistance of counsel, but closer inquiry reveals these alleged violations to be merely procedural in nature," Hogan wrote in a court order dated Wednesday and released Thursday.

Pollard lawyer Jacques Semmelman said he will appeal both orders, which resulted from an unusual hearing in Hogan's courtroom in September. Hogan ordered Pollard to appear in court for the session, though he did not say why. It was Pollard's first public appearance since his sentencing in 1987.

[J4JP: Jonathan was brought to court in a calculated move to afflict him and then put him on public display. See: A Portrait of American Justice.]

Hogan also cast doubt on chances the White House will set Pollard free.

"He has presented no credible evidence that the current president is any more willing to grant him clemency than the previous three presidents who declined to do so," Hogan wrote in denying access to the sealed documents.

[J4JP: Catch-22! By denying access to the documents, Hogan has created a self-fullfilling prophesy. As long as the attorneys are denied access to the secret portions of Jonathan's sentencing docket, they are not able to prepare an informed and compelling petition to the President for clemency.]

One of the documents is a declaration from then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger outlining the security damage from Pollard.

[J4JP: Since the time that Jonathan was sentenced none of Jonathan's security-cleared attorneys have ever been permitted to access the document in order to challenge the false charges it contains in a court of law.]

"Mr. Pollard and his attorneys have offered no new justification for this court to determine that any of them have a 'need to know'" what the documents contain, Hogan wrote.

Pollard's original lawyer was able to see the documents, which were filed shortly before the sentencing hearing.

[J4JP: Jonathan and his attorney saw the documents in sufficient time to see the false charges against him, but not in time to mount a challenge to them. Jonathan's attorney violated his right to effective assistance of counsel when he failed to ask for an evidentiary hearing to challenge the government to prove its claims.]

The legal challenge to Pollard's sentence was always a long shot, and his supporters have focused much of their effort on winning presidential clemency. Pollard will eventually renew his request to the White House, Semmelman said Thursday.

Pollard, 49, was a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet.

[J4JP Nonsense! The volume issue is a red herring and a myth. See the Facts Page]

He was not paid when his spying began in 1984, but acknowledged that Israel later began paying him a few thousand dollars a month.

[J4JP: Jonathan Pollard was an ideologue, not a mercenary. He volunteered his services to Israel, and the Jewish State insisted that he become a bona fide agent, since ideologues are too difficult to control. See the Facts Page for details.]

Pollard was caught in November 1985 and arrested after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy. He initially denied he worked for Israel but later acknowledged it. .

[J4JP: Jonathan, acting on orders from Israel, dissembled long enough to give the Israeli team enough time to leave the US and avoid arrest. When the last team member was safely out of the country, Israel abandoned Jonathan to his fate.]

He claims prosecutors reneged on a promise to seek a lesser sentence in return for his cooperation.

[J4JP : Jonathan's full cooperation is a documented fact which the government acknowledged, but which was not taken into consideration during sentencing. His life sentence was obtained in spite of a plea bargain which Jonathan honored and the government violated.]

His case has been a sticking point in U.S.-Israeli relations. The Israeli government, which granted Pollard citizenship, repeatedly has pressed for his release.

A 1998 U.S.-brokered peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians nearly foundered when then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly linked his agreement to the deal with clemency for Pollard.

Pollard's case was reviewed by federal officials in 2000 but he was left off the list of those granted clemency just before President Clinton left office.

The Israeli government has continued to press the issue with the Bush administration.

A telephone call seeking comment from the Israeli Embassy was not immediately returned Thursday.

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