Jonathan Pollard has served long enough

November 05, 2010

John G. Bailey ("Pollard should not be freed," letters, Nov. 4) is as misguided in his opinion as he is ignorant of the facts. To suggest that Israel is not a staunch and steadfast U.S. ally belies both history and context; the Middle East is a caldron of anti-American vitriol, with the tiny Jewish state standing out as a lone exception. To claim that Mr. Pollard violated a plea agreement with prosecutors simply flies in the face of the government's own admission that he did not.

Jonathan Pollard was charged with one count of passing classified information to a friendly government. The life sentence he was given is grossly disproportionate to that of any other person found to have committed the same offense — the average punishment for which is two to four years.

By the end of this month, Mr. Pollard will have been behind bars for 25 years. He long ago expressed remorse for his actions; he has been a model prisoner. As many Americans, both plain (and of all faiths) and prominent (including dozens of members of Congress), have pointed out, he has been punished enough. The president should exercise his power of clemency and commute the sentence to time served.

Kenneth Lasson

The writer is a professor of law at the University of Baltimore.

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