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UNITED STATES v. QUERENGASSER

May 18, 1960

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Norman Augustus QUERENGASSER



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FOLLMER

Defendant, Norman Augustus Querengasser, has been indicted for refusal to be inducted into the Armed Forces of the United States in violation of 50 U.S.C.A.Appendix, §§ 451-470. Defendant entered a plea of not guilty and waived his right to trial by jury. The case was accordingly tried to the Court without a jury.

At the trial the Government produced the file of Local Board No. 153, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, being the complete file in relation to this defendant. An examination of the file reveals that registrant (defendant) answered the Selective Service System Classification Questionnaire, which was received and filed by his Local Board on March 28, 1952. In the questionnaire registrant stated that he was a minister of religion of the Jehovah's Witnesses Sect and had been such since March 12, 1950, and that he was regularly serving as a minister. He stated that he had been formally ordained March 12, 1950, that he is a student preparing for the ministry under the direction of Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and is attending the Theocratic Ministry School at Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He stated that he was then and had been for one-half year employed as a door listing draftsman by Aetna Steel Products Corporation, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, working forty-five hours per week at the rate of $ 40 per week. He furthermore stated, 'In view of the facts set forth in this questionnaire it is my opinion that my classification should be Class IV-D.' He requested and was furnished Special Form for Conscientious Objector (SSS Form No. 150) which he partially completed, signed the certificate, and returned to the Board on April 2, 1952. He did not sign either (A) or (B) in Series I. -- Claim for Exemption, indicating the degree of his objection to service.

 Registrant did attach an extra sheet in which he explained his failure to sign either (A) or (B) under Serices I. -- Claim for Exemption, as follows:

 'The foregoing is the reason for my not signing statements A or B Series 1:

 'Due to my religious training and belief I cannot sign either statement. To sign such would incur upon my obligations to Jehovah God.

 'I am certainly not apposed (sic)to the national safety and health of the citizens. But I sincerely believe in the safety, health and welfare of every person and this I am already engaging in by my ministerial activities.

 'This includes such things as contributing to the spiritual needs of the people, visiting the sick and needy, going to their homes personally and helping them to improve their living standards morally.'

 At his request, registrant was granted an appearance before the Board on May 13, 1953, at which time he presented additional material for his file. Following his appearance before the Board, registrant's classification was again considered and he was again placed in Class I-A on June 17, 1953, and notice thereof was forwarded to registrant on June 22, 1953.

 On June 30, 1953, registrant appealed from the classification of the Local Board. Accordingly, the file was forwarded to the Appeal Board on July 2, 1953, from whence the entire file was forwarded to the Department of Justice for an advisory recommendation.

 At the hearing before the Hearing Officer registrant indicated that he would continue to work at his job with the Aetna Steel Products Corporation even if the company were manufacturing armaments for the Government. The Department of Justice then, on July 21, 1954, returned the case to the Appeal Board, holding that registrant's objections are sustanied as to combatant training only and recommending that he be classified I-A-O because of his willingness to engage in employment connected with the national defense. On July 29, 1954, the Appeal Board classified registrant in Class I-A-O.

 On April 20, 1955, the Local Board reopened registrant's classification in accordance with Paragraph 3(b) of Selective Service System National Headquarters Operation Bulletin No. 123. He was again placed in Class I-A and so notified. At his request, he was garnted a personal appearance by the Local Board on May 18, 1955, when after consideration he was placed in Class I-A and so notified on May 26, 1955.

 Registrant appealed and the file was forwarded to the Appeal Board. He was then furnished with a copy of the letter of recommendation received from the Department of Justice on July 22, 1954. On August 5, 1955, the Appeal Board again classified registrant in Class I-A-O.

 On September 8, 1955, the Appeal Board rescinded its classification of August 5, 1955, and on September 13, 1955, transmitted the file to the Department of Justice for a new advisory recommendation. Following a second investigation and hearing, the Department of Justice returned the file to the Appeal Board with its recommendation of May 10, 1956, that registrant be ...


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