Jonathan Pollard's Parole Restrictions 'Vindictive and Retaliatory,' Legal Team Says

U.S. Parole Commission fails to prove that Pollard continues to carry classified information 31 years after he was jailed, brief filed with U.S. federal court says.

Convicted American spy Jonathan Pollard after release. Manhattan, New York. November 20, 2015.
AP

The strict parole restrictions placed on Jonathan Pollard are “vindictive and retaliatory,” his attorneys said in a brief filed with a U.S. federal court.

According to the brief filed Thursday with the District Court for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Parole Commission failed to prove that Pollard continues to carry classified information in his head 31 years after he was jailed for passing classified documents to Israel while working as a civilian employee of the U.S. Navy.

A court filing on behalf of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in June said the U.S. intelligence community favors continued restrictions on Pollard, arguing he could still damage U.S. interests by revealing methods and identifying characteristics of U.S. assets.

The Parole Commission’s decision not to file any of its documents on a classified basis “also demonstrates that the only reason it imposed the onerous Special Conditions on Mr. Pollard is out of a vindictive and retaliatory motivation to punish Mr. Pollard for voicing his desire to live lawfully in Israel upon his release after 30 years in prison,” the Pollard brief reads. “Retaliation is not, however, a rational or lawful basis for special conditions of parole.”

The brief also addresses each of the special conditions and explains why they are not warranted.

Oral arguments on the case to remove the restrictive parole restrictions during Pollard’s five-year parole will be heard in U.S. District Court on July 22.

The conditions include wearing an electronic ankle bracelet with GPS tracking and surveillance of his and any employer’s computers. He also is confined to his New York home between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. — a condition, Pollard’s attorneys argue, that has precluded him from holding a job.

Pollard also is not permitted to join his wife, Esther, who he married while he was in prison, in Israel. He is restricted in his computer and internet use, which has prevented him from accepting a job offer to become a senior analyst at a financial firm, according to his attorneys.

Pollard was released from jail in November on mandatory parole after serving 30 years of a life sentence. He reportedly was a model prisoner.