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United States v. Thompson

decided: September 18, 1970.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIAM LEE THOMPSON, APPELLANT



Hastie, Chief Judge, and Maris and Freedman, Circuit Judges.

Author: Hastie

Opinion OF THE COURT

HASTIE, Chief Judge.

After a trial to the district court, the appellant, William Lee Thompson, was convicted for refusing to submit to induction into the Armed Forces in violation of 50 U.S.C. App. § 454 and § 462. He makes three arguments for reversal on this appeal: (1) that his I-A classification had no basis in fact; (2) that the manner in which the local Selective Service board dealt with his request for reopening lacked requisite procedural fairness; and (3) that the local board refused without justification to reopen his I-A classification and consider his claim to a III-A hardship deferment after he had been ordered to report for induction. We find it unnecessary to consider the registrant's third contention.

In January 1966, Thompson enjoyed deferment in Class III-A on the basis of a Current Information Questionnaire from the previous year which indicated that he was living with his wife and two children.*fn1 However, on January 17, 1966 he was reclassified I-A as a result of information volunteered by his wife that he was living apart from her and was delinquent in the payment of money for her support and the support of their two small children.

During the next three months, Thompson proceeded down the procedural path toward induction. He appealed his I-A classification, and the action of the local board was affirmed unanimously. He was ordered to report for an Armed Forces Physical Examination, was found to be qualified for military service, and was issued a Statement of Acceptability. However, over the same period of time, both Thompson and his wife wrote letters to the local board to the effect that they were separated for economic reasons, that they would be reunited as soon as they could locate a house, and that they were expecting a third child.*fn2

On the last day of March, the local board received the following letter from Mrs. Thompson:

"I'm writing this letter to inform you that my husband and I have not yet moved into a house. We have been able to locate one * * * that we may rent, as soon as my father-in-law, who is part owner of the house, returns from New York in two weeks. * * *

"I don't know if this has any bearing on the matter, but we are also expecting another child in August. It will be quite impossible for me to manage without my husband." (emphasis added).

With it thus appearing that the couple were not sharing a family home, the local board reclassified Thompson III-A on April 19, 1966, apparently on the ground of extreme hardship to dependents,*fn3 since no other basis for such reclassification appears in the record.

On May 27, 1966, the local board received a letter from Mrs. Thompson containing statements that once again led to her husband's loss of his III-A classification:

"I fully realize that this is not something to be played around with and that I can not keep changing my mind about it. Therefore, I feel that you should have an explanation as to why I have changed my mind and just what my situation is.

"When I found out I was pregnant again, I thought that I had no other choice, but to go back with my husband, because although I am living with relatives, I must move, and I have no means of an income other than the support money I receive. That ...


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