Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

UNITED STATES v. STEINHART

March 25, 1955

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Carl Wilson STEINHART



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WATSON

The defendant, Carl Wilson Steinhart, was indicted for refusing to report to his local board to receive instructions to proceed to the place of his civilian work an ordered by his draft board in violation of Section 462, Title 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix. The case was tried by the Court without a jury.

The defendant did not move for a judgment of acquittal at any time. It is assumed however for the purposes of this Opinion that the defendant seeks a judgment of acquittal on the same general grounds as those raised by defendants in similar cases where the registrants are members of the Jehovah's Witnesses sect and, having been classified as conscientious objectors, refused to comply with the order to report to their local board to receive instructions to proceed to the place of their civilian work.

 From the defendant's Selective Service file and other legal evidence the following facts and circumstances appear:

 The defendant properly filled out his 'Classification Questionnaire' and returned it to his local board in August, 1950. Defendant did not state therein that he was a minister or a student preparing for the ministry nor did he state that he, by reason of religious training and belief, was conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form. On August 28, 1950, defendant was classified I-A by his local board. However, on December 26, 1950 defendant wrote his local board and requested the board to furnish him with a conscientious objector form.

 The local board mailed to defendant a 'Special Form for Conscientious Objector', which he filled out and returned. Defendant stated therein that, by reason of his religious training and belief, he was conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form, and that he was further conscientiously opposed to participation in noncombatant training or service in the armed forces. He claimed complete exemption under Section 6(j) of Title I of the Selective Service Act of 1948 *fn1" as a conscientious objector opposed to participation in both combatant and noncombatant training and service in the armed forces.

 On January 12, 1951, the local board classified Steinhart IV-E. This classification gave him complete exemption as a conscientious objector opposed to participation in both combatant and noncombatant training and service in the armed forces. Later the Act was amended, at which time the IV-E classification was abolished and the I-O classification was substituted in its place. The new I-O classification applied to conscientious objectors opposed to both combatant and noncombatant service. On December 10, 1951, Steinhart's local board classified him I-O.

 On August 25, 1952 defendant's local board ordered him to report on September 5, 1952 for a physical examination. The defendant reported and was found acceptable and on September 10, 1952 a certificate of acceptability was mailed to him.

 In a letter dated October 8, 1952, Steinhart requested his local board to exempt him from military service for the reason that he had become an ordained minister of the gospel, acting under the direction of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society. Previously when placing claim for exemption, defendant had not 'yet been ordained'. However, on June 8, 1952, Steinhart was baptized in a ceremony held at the Keystone Junior College at LaPlume, Pennsylvania and because of this defendant claimed that he had become marked as a person bound to preach the gospel. Consequently the registrant claimed he was entitled to a IV-D classification. The defendant reiterated his position in a letter dated November 24, 1952.

 The defendant, having been classified I-O and having been found acceptable, was eligible in accordance with the Selective Service Regulations to perform for a period of twenty-four consecutive months such civilian work contributing to the maintenance of the national health, safety, or interest as the local board deemed appropriate. The defendant failed to submit to his local board the types of work he would offer to perform.

 On August 11, 1953 the local board decided to continue the defendant's classification as I-O. Since defendant failed to submit three types of work he would be willing to perform, the local board, in a letter dated September 24, 1953, submitted three types of work to defendant, from which he was requested to make a selection or a statement that he would not perform any of them. Defendant sent a statement to the local board on October 3, 1953, in which he asserted he would not perform any of the types of work submitted to him.

 After an interview with the registrant on October 6, 1953, the local board decided to continue his classification as I-O.

 Since no agreement had been reached between the registrant and the local board as to the type of work the registrant would perform in lieu of induction, it became necessary for the representative of the Pennsylvania Director of Selective Service to arrange a meeting with the local board and the registrant and offer his assistance in reaching an agreement. Such meeting is provided for in the Regulations. After due notice to the registrant, such meeting was held on October 27, 1953, at which appeared in addition to the registrant and others, Major William C. Halfpenny, Jr., representative of the Pennsylvania State Director. At the meeting the defendant related that he would not be able to come to any agreement, since such an agreement would conflict with his religious convictions. In view of the registrant's refusal to come to an agreement, Major Halfpenny advised that it would be necessary for the local board to select a type of work it deemed appropriate together with a plan of employment, and after obtaining the approval of the Director of Selective Service, the local board could order the registrant to perform such work.

 In a letter dated December 4, 1953, the local board apprised Major Halfpenny that it had decided that registrant be ordered to perform work at the Norristown State Hospital and requested the necessary approval of the Director of Selective Service.

 On December 30, 1953 the local board met and reviewed registrant's file. The Board advised defendant that since no new evidence was submitted to warrant any change in his ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.