Saturday, January 3, 2009

Watch List: Commutation for Pollard?

Probably no individual on our Pardon Watch List has received so much attention as has Jonathan Pollard. Now, Dan Ephron of Newsweek has written a piece which actually has a "news" element about it. As Ephron puts it, Pollard was sentenced to life in prison 23 years ago "for selling to Israel some of America's most guarded secrets." Now, Pollard's lawyers have told Newsweek that an application has been filed for a commutation of sentence (as opposed to a full and unconditional pardon). PardonPower has long been completely baffled as to why this was not the strategy of Pollard's lawyers to begin with, especially since, as Ephron reports, "much of the U.S. intelligence community" opposes any form of clemency on his behalf.

Newsweek also reports that former CIA director James Woolsey "would support Pollard's release on two conditions: that he show contrition and renounce any profits from books or other projects linked to the case." In the past, Woolsey has opposed clemency for Pollard. But, now, he says "a quarter of a century," is typically reserved for "only the hard-line Soviet bloc spies." See Newsweek article here.

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