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United States v. Tucker

February 27, 1967

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
DANIEL CLINTON TUCKER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Hastings, Chief Judge, and Schnackenberg and Castle, Circuit Judges.

Author: Schnackenberg

SCHNACKENBERG, Circuit Judge.

Daniel Clinton Tucker, defendant, appeals from a judgment of conviction and sentence to imprisonment for three years, following a trial by jury. The prosecution was based upon an indictment charging him with knowingly refusing and failing to comply with the lawful order of a local board to report for instructions to proceed to a place of civilian employment*fn1 contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety, and interest, as provided in the Universal Military Training and Service Act, in violation of 50 App.U.S.C. ยง 462(a).

The facts pertinent to the decision herein may be stated as follows. Defendant was physcially examined on April 23, 1964 and found acceptable by his local board. On July 9, 1964, he wrote the board that he had "information that may effect [sic] may classification * * *", that he had done "vacation pioneering", that he had been "putting in seventy-five or more hours in preaching work during a month", and that " (what) ever [sic] happens I must stand firm in my conscientious objections to participation in war as a combatant or noncombatant." The board took no action on this letter. On October 4, 1964, defendant wrote a letter to the board:

"I want to bring to the attention of the Board something which ought to affect my classification.

"It concerns farm land in Missouri we are buying.

"So without me it would be a hardship on this [his] family until we are set up to make the payments and living from this farm. I would like a deferment for one year on these grounds."

The board, in a "Report of Oral Information," dated October 14, 1964, refused to reopen defendant's classification because "the circumstances were not beyond the registrant's [defendant's] control," and on the same day informed him by mail that its members had determined that the circumstances "did not warrant reopening [his] present classification."

On October 30, 1964, defendant wrote the board a letter, stating:

"I do not offer to perform any of the types of work you sent of October 22, 1964.*fn2 I am disappointed in your decision of my request for deferement [sic]. I am sorry but my dad needs my help and can't afford to hire someone. And too I don't want any of my brothers to have to quit high school. Do you believe in education for all?"

On December 8, 1964, defendant appeared before the board and was informed that the purpose of the meeting was to determine whether he would accept civilian work in lieu of induction; that he would be paid like, and enjoy all the rights and privileges accorded other employees working in the Chicago State Hospital. When asked, "Will you perform such work in lieu of induction?", defendant answered "No", giving as his reason that, if he accepted civilian work, he would be compromising his religious principles.

On January 8, 1965, the chairman of the board caused to be mailed to defendant an order to report for civilian work at said hospital on January 19, 1965, and a warning that failure to do so would constitute a violation of the Act. However, after failing to so report, defendant continued his prolific letter writing. He wrote the board on October 13, 1965, enclosing a "Pioneer Minister" appointment from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. This was followed on November 24, 1965, by his sending to the board a letter from the Society indicating he was appointed an assistant presiding minister of the Pana, Illinois, congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Defendant's purpose in writing these two letters was "to request a reopening of my classification".

On January 10, 1966, defendant was indicted.

1. We hold against defendant's contention that he was denied due process of law when the board on four occasions refused to reconsider and reopen his classification. These were when defendant wrote to the board on July 9, 1964, October 4, 1964, October 13, 1965, and November 24, 1965, respectively. We do not view the July 9th letter as a request for reopening and ...


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