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United States v. Gast

February 24, 1972

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
PATRICK CARL GAST, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Major, Senior Circuit Judge,*fn1 Kiley and Cummings, Circuit Judges.

Author: Kiley

KILEY, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from defendant Gast's conviction, without a jury, of refusing to report for alternative civilian work under his I-O classification. He has appealed. We affirm.

Gast registered with his local board in October 1966. He later filed a Classification Questionnaire and a Special Conscientious Objector Form (SSS 150) claiming to be spending "much time," "100 hours or more" per month engaged in field work as a Jehovah Witness minister. On April 10, 1967 he was classified I-O by the local board. He thereafter requested a personal appearance before the board, on the ground that he should have been given a IV-D ministerial classification. His file was reopened but he was again classified I-O on June 5, 1967. The appeal board confirmed.

A year later, on June 11, 1968, Gast wrote the local board that he was unwilling to perform civilian work. On July 23, 1968 he submitted a letter in support of his claim to a ministerial exemption. The board, after meeting with Gast, refused a second reopening of his classification. He was ordered to report for hospital work, failed to report, and his indictment and trial followed.

I.

Gast contends that the grand jury which indicted him did not represent a fair cross section of the community because the selection process was unconstitutional since it excluded as a "cognizable class" "young adults" between the ages of 18 and 26. He argues that young people tend to vote less frequently than their elders, due to such factors as geographic mobility and a greater unfamiliarity with registration procedures. Consequently their names appear with less frequency on the voter lists from which random selections are made for grand jury service. He also argues that the voter lists used in 1969 to select his grand jury failed to include those persons turned 21 since the 1968 "last election."

We find no merit in his arguments and think the district court did not err in deciding that the composition of the grand jury was not unconstitutional.*fn2 The use of voter registration lists (28 U.S.C. § 1863) has been upheld as a permissible means of grand jury selection. United States v. Dangler, 422 F.2d 344 (5th Cir. 1970); United States v. Butera, 420 F.2d 564, 573 (1st Cir. 1970); Camp v. United States, 413 F.2d 419 (5th Cir. 1969); Grimes v. United States, 391 F.2d 709 (5th Cir. 1968); United States v. Kelly, 349 F.2d 720, 778 (2nd Cir. 1965). And there is no requirement that a grand jury be a statistical mirror of the community, United States v. DiTommaso, 405 F.2d 385, 389 (4th Cir. 1968), or that it conform to proportionate strength of each identifiable group in the total population, Simmons v. United States, 406 F.2d 456, 461 (5th Cir. 1969). Furthermore, young people, subject of his argument, who choose not to vote cannot be considered a "cognizable group." See Camp v. United States, 413 F.2d 419, 421 (5th Cir. 1969); Grimes, supra; Kelly, supra. Finally, there is no statutory requirement that the names of those turned 21 since the "last election" in 1968 be added to the voter lists, prior to the participation of those persons in the electoral process.

There is no merit either in Gast's contention that 28 U.S.C. § 1865(b) (1) is unconstitutional because it limited grand jury service to persons who are both over 21 years of age and had at least one year's residence in the relevant district. He relies on the Voting Rights Act Amendments of 1970.*fn3 This Act, so far as pertinent here, abolished the "durational residency requirement,"*fn4 and prohibited denial of the right to vote "to citizens of the United States eighteen years of age or over."*fn5

The amendments effective as of their respective dates*fn6 are of no aid to Gast, since they operate prospectively only and therefore do not reach his indictment in January 1970. Furthermore, the argument that pre-amended 28 U.S.C. § 1865(b) (1) is unconstitutional because it limited grand jury service to those over 21 years of age was expressly considered and rejected in United States v. McVean, 436 F.2d 1120, 1122 (5th Cir. 1971); see also United States v. Butera, 420 F.2d 564, 570 n. 15; United States v. Tantash, 409 F.2d 227, 228 (9th Cir. 1969).

II.

Gast challenges his conviction, asserting that there was no basis in fact either for the original refusal to grant him a IV-D ministerial exemption or for the refusal to reopen his classification after "new evidence" was presented in June and July of 1968.

We think there was a basis in fact for originally denying Gast the IV-D classification, since he did not present a prima facie case. In order to qualify for a ministerial exemption a registrant must establish that teaching and preaching are regularly performed and comprise the registrant's customary vocation. Dickinson v. United States, 346 U.S. 389, 395, 74 S. Ct. 152, 98 L. Ed. 132 (1953); United States v. Phifer, 440 F.2d 462, 464 (7th Cir. 1971); United States v. Isenring, 419 F.2d 975, 979 (7th Cir. 1969). And these "rigid criteria" cannot be met where the teaching or preaching is performed part-time or half-time, occasionally or irregularly. Isenring at 979.

Taken as true, the unsupported statements in Gast's file show that he spent approximately "100 hours or more" each month on ministerial duties which he described as teaching and instructing people on the Bible, personal studying, attending congregation meetings, and counselling the spiritually sick. However, other statements showed that Gast also spent approximately 160 hours per month in his "occupation" as a tool and die trainee. We think the above facts established at best that Gast practiced his ministerial work ...


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