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UNITED STATES v. SMITH

September 29, 1954

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD L. SMITH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Platt, District Judge.

The defendant Edward L. Smith was indicted for violation of Sec. 462, Title 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix. He waived jury trial in writing. The selective service board classified him 1-O (Conscientious Objector) and ordered him to report for duty at the Kankakee State Hospital, Kankakee, Illinois. It was stipulated that he reported but refused to perform the work required of him by the board's order.

The selective service file which was admitted in evidence, discloses that he was first classified 1-A on June 14, 1949. His questionnaire stated that he was a Junior Pressman employed by the Chicago Herald American and worked an average of 43 hours per week. On January 15, 1951, he was given a physical examination and was found acceptable for induction. In February, 1951 in a "Statement on Dependents" he claimed an exemption on the ground of dependency, for the reason that his mother was ill. After a hearing in March, 1951 no summary was made of the evidence but Mr. Smith was granted 60 days postponement of induction. On June 24, 1951, Mr. Smith wrote the board stating that there was no improvement in his mother's condition. The board replied on June 29, 1951, requesting that Smith's mother consult another doctor and then present a statement as to her condition and probable length of time it would require for her to regain her normal good health. The board received no answer and again on July 27, 1951, wrote Mr. Smith as to the condition of his mother. August 1, 1951, Smith replied that his mother consulted another doctor and he would forward the report within a week. He requested that his file be sent to the appeal board. The doctor's report was received on August 22, 1951, August 23, 1951, Mr. Smith was classified 3-A for 90 days, which delayed his induction to November 23, 1951.

November 7, 1951, Mr. Smith requested a conscientious objector's form and returned it to the board. He again listed his employment by the Chicago Herald American. December 6, 1951, the board classified Mr. Smith 1-O (Conscientious Objector).

Mr. Smith notified the board December 16, 1951, he would appeal his 1-O classification because he was entitled to a ministerial classification. On June 4, 1952, the appeal board classified Smith 1-O. November 5, 1952, Mr. Smith wrote the board a letter stating that he was engaged in ministry work, and that he also had a secular job to maintain a living to support himself and his mother. January 15, 1953, Mr. Smith again appeared before the board to determine what civilian assignment he should have.

Smith was again given a physical examination on May 14, 1953, and was found acceptable for induction. His report of medical history which he compiled himself, listed his occupation as a Junior Pressman.

He again wrote the board June 18, 1953 that he would become a minister of Jehovah God and be associated with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. He had been ordained in the sight of Jehovah God on December 16, 1951. He engaged in door to door ministry. He would be appointed a pioneer or minister on June 22, 1953. September 3, 1953, Mr. Smith was notified by letter that it was the unanimous opinion of the board that Smith's letter of June 18, 1953 would not require the reopening of his case.

Mr. Smith was ordered September 4, 1953 to report for civilian work at Kankakee State Hospital on September 18, 1953. On September 7, 1953, Mr. Smith wrote the board that he was then a full time minister and was able to be recognized as such under the supervision of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. September 10, 1952, Mr. Smith was notified by State Headquarters of the Selective Service System his file had been reviewed and he had been classified 1-O. On November 26, 1953, Mr. Smith again wrote the board appealing his classification in favor of 4-D and enclosed a document entitled Pioneer Appointment, dated October 1, 1953.

The defendant maintains he is not guilty as charged in the indictment for the following reasons:

1. There is no summary of the hearing before the board on March 15, 1951, when Mr. Smith appeared before the board.

2. The local board should have continued Mr. Smith's classification 3-A in accordance with Section 1622.30(b) of the regulations.

3. The local board refused to reopen the case of the defendant for reconsideration of his classification as a minister of religion after notice that the defendant was a pioneer minister operating under the direction of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, and thereby violated the defendant's rights.

4. The imposition of work in the State Hospital not under control of the federal government is in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The first point made by the defendant that a summary of the March, 1951 meeting was not in the file, does not justify an acquittal under the facts here. The regulation 1624.2(b) at that time provided in part:

    "The registrant may present such further
  information as he believes will assist the local
  board in determining his proper classification. Such
  information shall be in writing, or, if oral, shall
  be summarized in writing and, in either event ...

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