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JOHNSTON ET AL. v. UNITED STATES

decided: May 21, 1956.

JOHNSTON ET AL
v.
UNITED STATES



CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.*fn*

Warren, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Burton, Clark, Minton, Harlan

Author: Reed

[ 351 U.S. Page 216]

 MR. JUSTICE REED delivered the opinion of the Court.

These two cases concern the prosecution of three defendants for violations of the provisions of the Universal Military Training and Service Act. 50 U. S. C. App. § 451 et seq. We must determine the proper venue for the trial of these crimes.

Defendants Johnston and Sokol resided in the Western Judicial District of Pennsylvania and registered there with the local draft boards. Both were classified 1-O (conscientious objectors) and both were ordered to report to the boards for assignment of civilian work in lieu of induction. They were instructed to report to separate state hospitals situated in the Eastern Judicial District of Pennsylvania. They reported to the boards but personally refused to comply with the instructions. They were indicted in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the indictments were dismissed for lack of jurisdiction on the ground that venue could only be in the Western District. 131 F.Supp. 955. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed and remanded the case for trial. That court reasoned that venue was where the defendants failed to report. 227 F.2d 745.

Defendant Patteson, likewise classified 1-O, was ordered to report to his local board in Oklahoma for similar assignment. He, too, reported to the board and there personally refused to comply with instructions to report at the Topeka, Kansas, State Hospital. After indictment in Kansas, the Kansas District Court ordered the case transferred to Oklahoma under Rule 21 (b), Fed. Rules

[ 351 U.S. Page 217]

     Crim. Proc.*fn1 The Oklahoma court retransferred the case to Kansas as it thought the venue was there. The Kansas court thereupon dismissed the indictment on the ground that the venue was in Oklahoma. 132 F.Supp. 67. The judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. 229 F.2d 257.

Each registrant received an order, the pertinent parts of which follow:

"SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM

"ORDER TO REPORT FOR CIVILIAN WORK AND STATEMENT OF EMPLOYER

"You are ordered to report to the local board named above at m. on the day of , 195 , where you will be given instructions to proceed to the place of employment.

"You are ordered to report for employment pursuant to the instructions of the local board, to remain in employment for twenty-four (24) consecutive months or until such time as you are released or transferred by proper authority.

"You will be instructed as to your duties at the place of employment.

"Failure to report at the hour and on the day named in this order, or to proceed to the place of employment pursuant to instructions, or to remain in this employment

[ 351 U.S. Page 218]

     the specified time will constitute a violation of the Universal Military Training and Service Act, as amended, which is ...


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