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United States v. Goodman

December 11, 1970


Swygert, Chief Judge, Knoch, Senior Circuit Judge, and Pell, Circuit Judge.

Author: Knoch

KNOCH, Senior Circuit Judge.

Defendant-appellant, Thomas Mitchell Goodman, was indicted on a charge of violating Title 50, Appendix, United States Code, ยง 462, in that being a male required to register under the Universal Military Training and Service Act, and being a registrant at Local Board 189, Rock Island, Illinois, classified as I-O, (conscientious objector available for civilian work contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety or interest) he refused to report for civilian work contributing to the national health at the Chicago State Hospital as ordered by the Local Board in lieu of induction into the Armed Services.

In a bench trial, Appellant having waived trial by jury, Appellant was found guilty and committed to the custody of the Attorney General for confinement for a period of two years. However, execution of the sentence was suspended, Appellant placed on probation for three years and ordered to do work of national importance in the same category as previously offered to him.

It is Appellant's view that the order to report for civilian work was void as improperly issued. He asserts that the Local Board never actually made the requisite findings that such appropriate civilian work was available for him; that the various classifications were arbitrarily issued without a basis in fact; that the Board arbitrarily refused to reopen his classification and denied him due process and effective assistance of counsel.

The Appellant's Selective Service File introduced in evidence at the trial shows he was born January 12, 1942, and initially registered on February 23, 1960 when he listed his occupation as "full-time student".

On April 2, 1963, he filed a Classification Questionnaire, (SSS Form 100) in which he indicated that he was not a Conscientious Objector. He said he was employed 58 hours per week as a metal pourer for Quad City Die Casting Company.

He was classified I-A (Registrant available for military service) on May 15, 1963.

On December 7, 1964, Appellant filed a current Information Questionnaire (SSS Form 127) showing that he was married and the father of a child. His occupation was shown as "factory worker" for Farmall Works. Under "other occupational qualifications including hobbies, you possess" he listed "minister".

On December 14, 1964 the Board classified him III-A (extreme hardship deferment, or registrant with a child or children.)

March 28, 1966, Appellant filed another current Information Questionnaire (SSS Form 127) indicating he was married and the father of two children, still employed as a factory worker at Farmall Works. No other occupational qualifications or hobbies were listed.

Another SSS Form 127 filed June 24, 1966, showed Appellant to have been divorced and no longer living with his wife or children. He said he was employed as an assembler with International Harvester Company. He listed no other occupational qualifications or hobbies.

On the basis of this data Appellant was reclassified I-A and SSS Form 110 notification sent him July 13, 1966.

The Board did not hear from Appellant until September 1, 1966, after expiration of the 30 days' appeal time set out in Form 110. Under date of August 31, 1966, Appellant wrote explaining his delay by reference to emotional problems attendant on his divorce. He said nothing about a III-A classification, but attached to Appellant's letter of August 21, 1966 was a 6-page document entitled "Request to Appeal and Consider Reclassification of Registrant" in which Appellant stated (giving details) that he had been training for the Jehovah's Witnesses Christian Ministry for three years, spending monthly 20 to 30 hours in study meetings plus travel time of 8 to 9 hours, and about 11 1/2 hours in actual house to house and platform preaching; that he was baptized on July 24, 1964 by an ordained Minister. He enclosed supporting letters from the Presiding Minister, Rock Island Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses; a Theocratic Ministry School Servant, Rock Island Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses; and others attesting to Appellant's dedication and devotion and the time he spent in his work for the Congregation, plus a letter from Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., listing Appellant as a Book Study Conductor.

September 2, 1966 the Board notified Appellant that after review they had decided not to reopen his classification which remained I-A and that he was expected to report for physical examination September 6, 1966.

Appellant wrote under date of September 5, 1966 stating he had new evidence and requesting personal appearance before the Board.

On September 6, 1966, he was physically examined and found acceptable for the Armed Forces.

Two days later, the Board granted Appellant a personal appearance set for October 6, 1966, advising him to submit his new evidence in writing in advance so that the Board members might study it.

Under date of September 15, 1966 Appellant wrote a letter to the Board stating that he believed his proper classification was as a Minister of Religion. He described himself as having been duly ordained a minister by the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses and his ministry as his regular and customary vocation. He also included a "Certificate for Servant in Congregation" from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. (the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses) naming Appellant as a duly ordained minister, then officiating as assistant presiding minister of the Rock Island, Illinois, Congregation serving as Book Study Conductor and also engaged in preaching as a missionary evangelist.

At the personal appearance, however, the Board retained Appellant in the I-A classification, noting that Appellant was working to meet his obligations and that they did not think being a minister was his primary vocation.

Under date of October 17, 1966, Appellant wrote the Board, appealing its decision. He stated further that he was now serving as Congregational Book Study Conductor, holding personal home Bible studies and serving in other functions. He added that the Congregation was short of qualified servants. He explained that he planned to extend his ministry when possible but that he was unable yet to do so because of heavy debts, child support ...

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