United States v. Garriott, 23550-1.

Citation338 F. Supp. 1087
Decision Date14 February 1972
Docket NumberNo. 23550-1.,23550-1.
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff, v. Charles Richard GARRIOTT, Defendant.
CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri

Bert C. Hurn, U. S. Atty., Wendell K. Smith, Asst. U. S. Atty., Kansas City, Mo., for plaintiff.

Ronald M. Sokol, Asst. Federal Public Defender, Kansas City, Mo., for defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
I.

JOHN W. OLIVER, District Judge.

This is a jury-waived Selective Service case, submitted on a stipulation in which, among other things, it was agreed that the Selective Service file of the defendant, admitted in evidence, was full and complete. That stipulation also established that defendant claims to be a "part of what has been labeled `The Jesus Movement,' `Jesus People,' etc." It is appropriate that we give this case more detailed discussion than it would otherwise deserve because defendant's file reveals that Selective Service Boards are likely to encounter the same sort of difficulties in classifying Jesus People as they earlier experienced in classifying Jehovah's Witnesses. Cf. United States v. Stidham (W.D.Mo., 1965) 248 F.Supp. 822, and United States v. Batson (W.D. Mo., 1971) 334 F.Supp. 971 decided November 29, 1971.1

We make a full review of the factual circumstances and procedural deficiencies involved in this case in the hope that the errors made by Local Board No. 33 and the Appeal Board for the State of Kansas may be avoided in future conscientious objector cases.

II.

Defendant registered for the Selective Service System on May 15, 1968. He did not make any conscientious objector claim at that time. As a student at Shawnee Mission South High School and later at the University of Kansas, defendant was consistently given II-S student deferments, the last of which was due to expire October 15, 1970. On October 12, 1970, before the expiration of his II-S deferment, defendant was ordered to report for a physical examination. That order was issued the same day the Local Board received a Student Certificate from the registrar of Sioux Falls College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which stated that the defendant "had entered that institution on September 9, 1970, and was satisfactorily pursuing a full-time course of instruction at that institution from which he was expected to receive a degree in June, 1973."

On October 21, 1970, the Local Board received a letter from the defendant which opened with the statement "I know there are forms and precedures sic to follow when writing a letter of this nature, but I'm not concerned with form XYZ or whatever it is. I'm just concerned with telling you who I am, What I am, and my plans." Defendant also advised the Local Board that although he was a student at Sioux Falls College, he was not asking for a student deferment. He explained that he had attended the University of Kansas for the preceding two years only because his parents wanted him in college and because "I did not know where I was going in life, or even what I wanted out of life." He stated that he "spent most of my freshman year drunk" and had thereafter "started doing dope."

He then suggested that some unidentified person had "introduced me to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," and stated: "I have been turning on to God since that night and my life is totally different." He added that "I am in school now but my time outside of class is spent doing simply what Jesus commissioned all Christians to do: `Go ye into the world and preach in my name, teach in my name, heal the sick, and cast out demons.'"

More relevant for purposes of this case was defendant's explanation as to why he would not comply with the order to report for a physical examination. He stated:

The Military is an outrage to anyone who is a Christian. I don't even wish to acknowledge your existence but if I must tell you then I will. I wasn't particularly opposed to the Military until after I became a Christian but If you take time to let the Lord talk I'm sure you'll find that in no way would he want one of his children to participate in the actions you undertake. I don't waste my time doing a lot of demonstrating against the Military because I'm busy telling people about the love of God and how he can come into their lives. I do speak out against you whenever it becomes necessary. You had better look in the mirror right now and get right with God because some day we are all going to stand before him and account for what we did with the time He gave us here on Earth. I could go into the scriptures and what they have to say about killing, hate, greed, lust, capitalism in the hands of non-Christians, etc. but I'm sure you've been confronted with them before. The Lord put me here so please do whatever is necessary to get me an official deferment or whatever is necessary.

Other portions of that letter are consistent with that declaration. After stating that he loved the people of the United States, rather than having a sense of loyalty to the United States as such, he added:

The greatest thing I can do for my people is to always walk in the ways that the Lord leads me. This is the most I can do for my brothers and sisters around the world, yes even those communists who would slit my throat if they got a chance. You see at one time I hated them and would have killed them, I hated God and went against him, but he waited on me and patiently loved me. Now I must patiently love those who despise me. I must feed my enemies, pray for those who use me, and take the message of God wherever he leads me.

Defendant added a postscript in which he stated: "I don't wish a I-Y deferment either because I'm not crazy now — the Lord healed me — a I-Y would be a cop out! I just want a Christian deferment!"

The minutes of the Local Board show that it reluctantly considered defendant's letter received on October 21, 1970 as a request for conscientious objector Form 150.2

The Local Board received the completed Form 150 on October 28, 1970. Much of what the defendant stated in that form, particularly in the data attached thereto, contained many references to particular chapters and verses in the Bible, quite like the attachments not infrequently found on Form 150's filed by particular members of Jehovah's Witnesses, or some other fundamentalist sect. It is clear, however, from what the defendant stated that the views and beliefs expressed in his earlier correspondence with the Local Board were being reiterated in his Form 150. Defendant also made his views clear to the Local Board in other correspondence which it received before it rejected defendant's conscientious objector claim.

On October 30, 1970 defendant returned his I-A classification notice issued October 23, 1970 to the Local Board with a statement that he could not accept that classification "in step with leadings of God." He added that "if you review my beliefs you will see that I have two choices: (1) be deferred from all military obligation in order to do God's work or (2) go to jail. The 2nd choice is absurd but if forced to, I will rather than serve in Satan's Army!" The defendant suggested that the Local Board "please pray about these matters and let me know the outcome."

The minutes of the Local Board for November 17, 1970 reflect the single entry "I-A" by a "4-0" vote. There is nothing in the Local Board's minutes, in any of its other records, or in the stipulated evidence which reflects any reason for the Local Board's refusal to grant defendant's claim for conscientious objector status.3

On December 1, 1970 the Local Board issued another order for the defendant to report for a physical examination on December 7, 1970. A communication from the Local Board No. 1 of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, indicates that the defendant, as was his right, appeared before that Board and requested a transfer of his Armed Forces physical examination. Local Board No. 1 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, disapproved that request for transfer.4

On December 15, 1970 the Local Board received a letter from the defendant which advised that he would be in Kansas City for about twelve days following the 19th of December, and in which he requested a personal appearance before the Board "to see if we can come to a common understanding that would be fitting to God, yourselves, and me." On December 21, 1970, the Board issued another order directing the defendant to report for a physical examination on January 7, 1971. On December 29, 1970 it advised the defendant that his requested personal appearance would be granted for January 5, 1971, at 9:30 p. m.

An unidentified long-hand note in the Local Board's file reflects that the Local Board apparently talked with the defendant for twenty minutes on January 5, 1971. If that note may be considered as an accurate reflection of the scope of Local Board's official inquiry, a matter not free from doubt, it is apparent that the Local Board gave no consideration whatever to defendant's claimed status as a conscientious objector.5

Defendant appeared for physical examination on January 7, 1971 and was found to be acceptable. On February 9, 1971 he was ordered to report for induction on February 22, 1971. On February 10, 1971 the Local Board received a letter from the defendant in which he enclosed a large number of letters apparently from other members of the Jesus Movement which reflected his and his friends' preoccupation with literal interpretations of the Bible.6 On the outside of this mailing, however, defendant placed the following:

"Attention Local Board
PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION AND MY FILE TO THE STATE APEAL sic BOARD FOR REVIEW. GOD BLESS YOU."

The minutes of the Local Board indicate the understandable confusion produced by defendant's unorthodox notice of appeal. A Local Board minute entered February 10, 1971 which stated "Order for induction cancelled with permission of state headquarters" was stricken from the minutes. Another portion of a minute which stated "File to Appeal...

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    ...an attestation of citizenship or “satisfactory immigration status” for the receipt of housing assistance); United States v. Garriott , 338 F.Supp. 1087, 1097 (W.D. Mo. 1972) (noting that the military's Form 150, accompanied by a conscientious objector certificate, is “executed by the regist......

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