December 6, 2016

Time to Pardon Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin

It was at last month’s Kosherfest that a conversation with two prominent leaders of the kosher food industry turned to Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, the 57-year old father of 10, including a special child who has been incarcerated for seven years. The two suggested that perhaps someone could get to the outgoing President Barack Obama to pardon Mr. Rubashkin, who received a remarkably harsh sentence of 27 years for bank fraud. Charles Renfrew and James Reynolds, writing in the Wall Street Journal, stated that the sentence being served by the former CEO of Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, is more than twice as long as he would have served had his punishment fit his crime. Renfrew, is a U.S. District Court judge in the Northern District of California (1972-80) and U.S. deputy attorney general (1980-81), and Reynolds, a U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa (1976-82). They join a long list of former attorney generals, jurist and members of Congress who also called his sentence unjust. Renfrew and Reynolds stated in their op-ed that every day that Rubashkin spends in prison “is a day that he should be spending as a free man, with his family.” “That is why we urge President Obama to pardon Mr. Rubashkin before he leaves office in January,” they wrote. I join their call and am hoping for good news from the White House in the waning days of the Obama Administration.