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HEATH v. DREW

July 10, 1970

Joseph J. HEATH, Petitioner,
v.
Captain John DREW, Commanding Officer, Naval Station, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, John H. Chafee, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C., Melvin Laird, Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C., Captain G.B. Riefler, Commanding Officer of the USS Sea Leopard, Rear Admiral Kenneth L. Veth, Commander, 4th Naval District


Higginbotham, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: HIGGINBOTHAM

HIGGINBOTHAM, District Judge.

 1. The petitioner is an Ensign in the United States Navy stationed in Philadelphia.

 2. Respondents are the civilian and military officials who have custody of the person of the petitioner and who exercise control over him pursuant to their authority under law.

 3. On March 12, 1970, petitioner applied for discharge as a conscientious objector (hereinafter called "C.O.") pursuant to Naval regulations.

 4. On March 16, 1970, petitioner was interviewed by Chaplain Lieutenant Commander John F. Walker.

 5. Chaplain Walker wrote a report which stated in part:

 
"* * * He objects to his own participation as a member of an armed force engaged in what he would consider an immoral war.
 
"He records no religion, but holds strong personal moralistic views related to the taking of human life.
 
"Joseph John Heath is sincerely convinced that his individual membership in the armed forces of this country is morally wrong."

 7. In his report to the Commanding Officer of the USS Sea Leopard (petitioner's assigned vessel) Lieutenant Faulkner stated in part:

 
"I believe that Ensign Heath is sincere in his opposition to war and that the basis of this opposition can be ...

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