Letter by Pollard's Attorneys: 2015 Release Meaningless
November 2, 2005
To the Editor of Ha'aretz:
As the U.S. lawyers for Jonathan Pollard, we write to correct a fundamental misunderstanding in your article titled "U.S. Justice Dept. site: Pollard's life sentence to end in 2015." (Nov. 1, 2005).
Under U.S. law in effect at the time of Mr. Pollard's activities, any prisoner sentenced to life in prison is presumptively entitled to parole on the 30th anniversary of the date of incarceration. As a result, the Bureau of Prisons computer automatically generates the 30th anniversary date as the "projected" release date. At that time, Mr. Pollard will be presumptively entitled to parole. However, the U.S. Government will still be entitled to oppose parole.
We have been aware for years that the Bureau of Prisons website reflects a "projected" release date for Mr. Pollard of 2015. This is not a new development. It is not an indication of a change in attitude by the U.S. Department of Justice, nor is it the result of any efforts by the Government of Israel. It is purely a mechanical function based upon applicable law -- no more, no less.
U.S. law was later changed to eliminate the 30th anniversary presumption. This explains why others who were subsequently sentenced to life in prison do not have similar projections on the Bureau of Prisons website.
We also note that, contrary to your article, the sentencing judge never indicated that Mr. Pollard should not be eligible for parole.
Our hope, of course, is that Mr. Pollard is released well before 2015. We are continuing our efforts as security-cleared defense counsel to obtain access to the sealed court docket materials, so that we can authoritatively address executive clemency with President Bush. Our legal case is still ongoing in federal court. And we continue to urge the Government of Israel to come forward at long last and take meaningful steps to secure Mr. Pollard's release.
Very truly yours,
Attorneys for Jonathan Pollard
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP
101 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10178-0061