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UNITED STATES v. LIBERATO

January 23, 1953

UNITED STATES
v.
LIBERATO



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

This is a criminal non-jury trial based on alleged violation of the Selective Service Act, 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, § 462(a).

 On February 8, 1951, by virtue of amended regulations effective January 1951, defendant was reclassified 1A. He was ordered to report for physical examination February 26, 1951, and was found acceptable March 5, 1951.

 On March 13, 1951 an appeal was forwarded to the Appeal Board. On March 20, 1951, the board determined that the defendant should not be reclassified in either 1AO or 4E.

 Upon issuance of new Selective Service regulations, defendant was sent a form that he sign for either combat or non-combatant duty for two years, or make himself available for work assignment to be determined by the President of the United States.

 In Special Form for Conscientious Objector, pursuant to Claim for Exemption, the following is posed:

 'I am, by reason of my religious training and belief, conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form and I am further conscientiously opposed to participation in noncombatant training or service in the armed forces. I, therefore, claim exemption from combatant training and service, and if my claim is sustained, I understand that in lieu of induction into the armed forces, I will, because of my conscientious objection to noncombatant service, subject to such regulations as the President may prescribe, to perform for twenty-four (24) consecutive months, such civilian work contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest as the local board may deem appropriate.' (Italics supplied)

 'Signature of Registrant'

 Defendant failed to subscribe his signature thereto, but in the alternative inserted the following:

 'First I would like to know what the President will prescribe.'

 The Local Board or no representative of the Selective Service answered said inquiry.

 Defendant was ordered to report for induction on April 17, 1952, was found acceptable, but refused to be inducted.

 Defendant is a member of the Jehovah Witness faith, and is one of a long series of members of this faith who has appeared before this court refusing to make himself available for either combat or non-combatant duty.

 The transitory and ephemeral nature of defendant's religious activity together with the extremely limited scope of defendant's training and preparation for the ministry have convinced me by the preponderance and weight of the evidence that defendant in no way could be categorized ...


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