Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Aren't JBloggers Weighing In On A Jonathan Pollard Pardon?

As the end of President Bush's term in office approaches, one of the issues that once again moves into the forefront is the question of a Presidential Pardon for Jonathan Pollard.

The Press Release from Justice for Jonathan Pollard is typical of the renewed effort:
J4JPnews release – November 17, 2008

* On Friday Nov 21st Jonathan Pollard will enter his 24th year in prison.
* On Sunday Nov 23rd Ehud Olmert will be meeting with President Bush for the last time.
* On Thursday Nov 27th the American people will celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday – a holiday traditionally associated with Presidential clemencies.

Now is the time to call upon the President:
Free Jonathan Pollard!
Call: 202-456 -1111 or 202-456-1414
(Monday to Friday 9AM to 5PM - Eastern DST)
Every phone call is important. Everyone is encouraged to start calling the White Houseand to call daily, repeatedly, until Jonathan is home in Jerusalem, alive and well.

Presidential clemencies are traditionally signed precisely at this time and prisoners are freed in advance of the holiday to go home to their families for Thanksgiving.
What finer gesture could President Bush make to the People of Israel when he meets with the PM this coming week?
Freedom for Jonathan Pollard!

Mr. Bush has but 2 months left in office. These two months are a time of grace, when the out-going president traditionally grants clemencies to prisoners. There is no legal or moral reason that requires the president to wait until his last day in office to grant clemency. Call the White House today! Please, Mr. President, send Jonathan Pollard

Dialing from Israel:
Add your long-distance service provider code to the start of the USA number for example: 0121-202-456-1111. (Israeli codes: 001, 012, 013, 014, 018, etc.)

Hours for Israeli Calls:White House telephone lines are manned from 4 PM Israel time to Midnight, from Monday to Friday. Be sure to call before candle-lighting
today [To ensure a faster response, follow the instructions for "Rotary" telephones regardless!]

Website: http://www.JonathanPollard.org
RSS: http://www.JonathanPollard.org/rss.htm
Ironically, Bush might be in a unique position to grant such a pardon:
Requests to pardon the former U.S. Navy analyst, sentenced in 1987 to life for spying for Israel, are routine, but these pleas come as Bush prepares to leave office at a record low popularity – a condition that has paradoxically in the past free presidents to make unpopular pardons.
On the other hand, Margaret Colgate Love, the U.S. pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997, notes how stingy President Bush has been with pardons:
Bush has kept a low profile in exercising his pardon power. Though a record number of people have applied for pardons and sentence commutations during his presidency, he has issued fewer grants than any other president in the past 100 years -- except for his father.

Bush's 157 pardons say little about his criminal justice philosophy. Most have gone to people convicted long ago of minor offenses, who spent little or no time in prison, and who are unknown outside of their communities. Five of his six sentence commutations went to small-time drug offenders who had spent years in prison and were close to their release dates.

Meanwhile, Bush has denied almost 8,000 clemency requests, many of which were indistinguishable from the ones he granted.
Margaret Colgate Love, the U.S. pardon attorney from 1990 to 1997, notes that with this final opportunity to exercise this unique power, Bush can send a unique message and correct problems in the justice system--not just in the case of Jonathan Pollard, but in general as well
History teaches that the demand for clemency increases when the system lacks other mechanisms for delivering individualized justice, for recognizing changed circumstances, or for correcting errors and inequities.

...A series of final pardons could highlight flaws in the justice system that would be instructive to the next administration. The Framers considered the pardon power an integral part of our system of checks and balances, not a perk of office. Judicious grants of clemency can signal to Congress where rigid laws should be amended and give policy guidance to executive officials. The president's intervention in a case through his pardon power benefits an individual but also signals how he wants laws enforced and reassures the public that the legal system is capable of just and moral application.
The prison sentence of Jonathan Pollard clearly is such a case.

Justice For Jonathan Pollard has a video of Israeli personalities weighing in on the case (Hebrew)
On the other hand, we in the JBlogosphere have been unusually subdued in the face of the opportunity afforded by President Bush reaching the end of his term.

The choice is clear:

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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Don P said...

I have always felt that Jonathan Pollard received a sentence far in excess of the crime he committed. A pardon is long past due, and if Mr. Bush does not, then it will be at least 4 more years before the opportunity comes again.

Eric said...

I have been weighing in on this one for a while. You can see a few posts about him on my blog. http://www.theisraelsituation.com/search/label/Jonathan%20Pollard