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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Newly Freed Pollard Petitions to Ease Parole

MANHATTAN (CN) - Jonathan Pollard, just released from a North Carolina federal prison 30 years after getting a life sentence for giving classified documents to Israel, sued Friday to disconnect his parole monitoring.

The U.S. Justice Department and its parole commission said in July that they would not object to mandatory parole when the 61-year-old Pollard became eligible this month.

When he was arrested on Nov. 21, 1985, Pollard worked as a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy. He was convicted of placing hard copies of sensitive documents in a suitcase and handing them to a representative of the Israeli government, according to court records.

Pollard's lawyers, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, note in a habeas petition that the Internet did not exist at the time, but their client must now have his web traffic monitored by the U.S. government as a condition of his parole.

The 17-page petition does not challenge the requirement that Pollard remain in the United States for the next five years.

Pollard's attorneys, however, have long noted that President Barack Obama could waive this requirement by commuting his sentence to time served.

During his three decades behind bars, Pollard has been a "model prisoner," his lawyers say.

"The GPS monitoring condition bears no relationship to Mr. Pollard's offense or history, to the goals of criminal sentencing, is not necessary to protect the public, and is totally unjustified," the petition states.

They say that the monitoring of Pollard's computer use is also unjustified.

"Moreover, the monitoring of his computer at his place of employment essentially ensures that Mr. Pollard (a highly employable graduate of Stanford University) cannot work in a professional capacity, in derogation of the most basic principle of parole, which is to rehabilitate the parolee and reintegrate him into society," according to the petition.

Pollard's attorneys point to their client's failing health as another reason to waive his GPS monitoring requirement.

Diagnosed with severe diabetes, Pollard wears orthropedic stockings for the "chronic swelling in his legs and ankles," making it "dangerous" for him to wear an ankle bracelet, the petition says.

The Jerusalem Post also reported that Pollard recently developed problems with his kidneys, gall bladder and intestines.

In a videotaped statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The people of Israel welcome the release of Jonathan Pollard."

Netanyahu, who said he pushed for Pollard's release before multiple U.S. presidents, added that he waited a long time for his release.

With night falling on Tel Aviv, Netanyahu added, "I wish him on his first Sabbath that he's going to spend with his family a lot of joy, a lot of happiness and a lot of peace."

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