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Huisinga v. United States

February 18, 1970

JERRY LEE HUISINGA, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE



Hastings, Senior Circuit Judge, and Fairchild and Cummings, Circuit Judges.

Author: Hastings

HASTINGS, Senior Circuit Judge.

Defendant Jerry Lee Huisinga was convicted, after a bench trial, of violating Section 12 of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, 50 U.S.C.A.App. ยง 462, in that he knowingly failed to carry out the direction of his local draft board to report to said board for assignment to civilian work in lieu of induction. The court imposed a sentence of five years. Defendant appeals from the judgment of conviction and sentence. We reverse.

Defendant registered with the Selective Service System on February 11, 1966, at Local Board 181, Monticello, Illinois. On a Classification Questionnaire filed March 16, 1966, defendant indicated that he had been ordained a minister on July 10, 1964, but that he was still a full-time high school student and part-time farm worker. He also described himself as a conscientious objector. On April 4, 1966, he was classified I-S.

Defendant was graduated from high school on June 3, 1966, and three days later became a full-time student at the Illinois Commercial College. He promptly notified his Local Board of his new status. On July 20, 1966, his Board reclassified him I-A. Defendant appealed this reclassification to the state Appeal Board. The chairman of his Local Board transmitted his Selective Service file to the Appeal Board with the following letter:

"TO THE MEMBERS OF THE APPEAL BOARD:

"To summarize this registrants present status, we have inducted one boy out of this family and having known these people my entire life I can't yet figure out why that this one should claim a C.O. Classification. We never deny any registrant his rights and his beliefs but feel from the family background that possibly this is influenced from the family.

"No one in this large family served in the armed forces in World War II, but as stated we finally inducted one. These people are extensive land owners in Piatt County and if anybody should serve their country it should be somebody from this family.

"As you know a Jehovah's Witness refuses to take orders from anybody and are the hardest registrants that we have to deal with in the C.O. Classifications, so we would like for you to go along with us as far as you can and still be within his rights.

"Very truly yours,

MEMBERS OF LOCAL BOARD NO. 181

/s/ Joe V. Bennett, Chairman"

On October 27, 1967, the Appeal Board reclassified defendant I-O, conscientious objector. The Local Board then began to process defendant for a Civilian Work Order in Lieu of Induction.

On January 30, 1968, defendant sent a letter with several attachments to his Local Board requesting it to reopen his case. The letter recites that defendant had finished his course at the Illinois Commercial College and was now entering the full-time ministry which would require him to devote a minimum of one hundred hours per month to it, in addition to time spent in attending meetings of his congregation, conducting private study and preparing for his ministry. He attached affidavits offering proof of his ministry. The Government does not deny that defendant did, in fact, enter into the full-time "pioneer" ministry of the Jehovah's ...


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