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UNITED STATES v. POLLERO

June 12, 1969

UNITED STATES of America
v.
Raymond Arthur POLLERO, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: TYLER

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

 TYLER, District Judge.

 Defendant was tried on April 3, 1969 before the undersigned without a jury for violation of 50 App.U.S.C. ยง 451. Specifically, defendant was charged with refusing to report to his Selective Service Board for instructions to proceed to his place of assigned employment for civilian work in lieu of induction. At the conclusion of the evidence, leave was granted to counsel for the submission of briefs which have now been filed. Accordingly, there follow the findings of fact and conclusions of law of this court.

 I.

 On November 5, 1965 Pollero was classified I-O by his local Selective Service board. This classification followed defendant's submission of a completed Selective Service form 150 in which he stated that he "could not kill and in any way support it - or be governed by its advocates". (Gov't Ex. 4) Pollero did not appeal this I-O classification.

 Accordingly, on September 12, 1966 the Board mailed to him form 152 which requested Pollero to supply three types of civilian work which he might offer to perform in lieu of induction into the armed services. Pollero returned this form uncompleted, but submitted with the uncompleted form a letter in which he said, among other things, that, "I am going to be ordained as a minister with Jehovah's Witnesses soon and begin the Pioneer Work". (Gov't Ex. 18) Furthermore, Pollero in that letter stated clearly that he intended to refuse to perform "any and all" civilian work. On or about September 30, 1966, the Board received from Pollero form 127 in which he listed his occupation as a telephone solicitor for a carpet company. Pollero left blank that portion of the form ("Series V-Education") wherein registrants are supposed to set forth information as requested if they are at the time full-time students. Curiously, on October 3, 1966, another form 127 was received by the Board from defendant who again left blank "Series V-Education", but stated in "Series IV-Present Occupation" that he was a "telephone solicitor also: student; Columbia School of Broadcasting."

 As a result of these developments, the Board on October 12, 1966 wrote Pollero and offered three specific types of civilian work to him. In response to this letter, Pollero wrote back under date of October 21, 1966, the following letter:

 
"I realize the importance of having selective service laws and, where one has been found a sincere conscientious objector, the provisions for employment for 2 years at a job which is of benefit toward the national welfare.
 
I am classfied I-O and now been ordered to perform work given me by you, in accordance with the laws. I must refuse.
 
In 1963 (January) I began a personal investigation of religion to find one I could really believe and even take vows as a minister. In April of '65 I began studying with a minister of Jehovah's Witnesses. I soon found this to be the thing I was looking for. * * *
 
I am now in my 2nd year of study and attend all the instruction meetings (5 a week) and am enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School. * * *
 
I will soon be ordained as a minister dedicating my life to God. Do you know what this means - dedicate? It is not just completing some course which covers a set period of time. It means that everything in my life will be toward the interest of preaching & teaching about God's Kingdom * * *
 
* * * I'm not asking for draft classification, freeing me from 'hospital-type' work for a cheap way out.
 
How much more could I do to serve my fellow man and this country than help people find truth and peace of mind and hope for everlasting life? * * * Well this is what I ask - that I may help ...

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