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July 22, 1980 - Image 12

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-07-22

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Page 12-Tuesday, July 22, 1980-The Michigan Daily
Registration questions answered
(Continued from Page 3) Justice Department to abide by them. registering under protest" and which Justice successfully argued that
register.' This Act is enforced by the In one case a man made an can fit in various parts of the government could force a person
U.S. Department of Justice. arrangement with his local U.S. attor- registration form. A registrant can register before they consider his cla
Q: Is it a crime to register late? ney to register late in return for also write a brief statement announcing for conscientious objector status.
A: Yes. Registering later than the . dismissal of his indictment. The Depar- that he feels he is a conscientious objec- Q: Is it a good defense that a per
dates set out by the President in his tment of Justice in Washington tor. Such a statement,' however, does ' did not know he was supposed
Proclamation can subject you to the overruled the agreement, ordered the not in any way guarantee that he will register?
same penalties as not registering at all. case prosecuted, and obtained a 30- obtain such a classification at a later A: Yes, in at least some cas
Q: A widely circulated article from month prison sentence. date. A microfilm version of the -Generally speaking, the Department
the Associated Press quotes the new Q: Once registered, what else must a registration form will be retained, Justice must prove that a person int
Selective Service Director, Bernard person do? though, so his form would be available ded to violate the Military Select
Rostker, as saying that a person who A: A registrant must notify Selective to use as evidence of the long-standing Service Act before he can be convict
faled to register because he did not Service every time he changes his ad- nature of his beliefs. For purposes of registration, tl
know about this program would dress. Change of address forms will Q: Will a registrant get a draft card probably means that a person mi
"technically be in ,violation" but that also be available at the post office. after he registers? specifically know of his obligation
post offices have been instructed to Failure to notify of a change of address A: No. Registrants will receive a let- register but decide not to do it. Tows
allow persons to register late. Is this is also punishable by up to five years in ter confirming their registration within the end of the Vietnam-era the gov
statement misleading? prison and a $10,000 fine. 90 days after registration. This letter nment frequently argued that a def
A: It is misleading because there is Q: Was anyone actually convicted for should be retained in a safe place. f dant should have known of I
no difference between a "technical failing to notify Selective Service of an possible, a registrant should make a obligation because of the Selective S
violation" of the law and any other kind address change? Xerox copy of his completed vice's publicity campaign which,
of violation. The Director does not have A: Yes. During the last draft period, registration form at the time he cluded hanging posters in many fede
legal authority to "forgive" late it was often easier for a U.S. attorney to registers so he has proof of registration buildings.
registration unless published Selective prove that someone had not reported an even before Selective Service mails his This issue has never reached
Service regulations provide specifically address change than to prove any other official letter. Supreme Court, however. The Direc
for a lawful late registration period. At violation of the draft law. Q: It is a felony to fail to register. of Selective Service has testified bef
this time only persons hospitalized or Q: What can a registrant do if he How will Selective Service find non- the House Judiciary Committee tl
imprisoned or unable to register on wants to legally express his opposition registrants? because of the widespread rad
time frdm some "condition beyond to registration right on the registration A: Selective Service and the Depar- television, and newspaper advertis
their control" may register late. Any form? tment of Justice have access to many for July's registration, 19- and 20-ye
persons who miss registration should A: Selective Service officials have state-wide lists of 19- and 20-year-olds, old persons will be presumed to learn
seek legaladvice before acting. repeatedly told the news media that such as driver license and public high registration if they have access to
Q: Can't the Selective Service, or registrants may write anything on the school graduation lists. They will cros- media. He is apparently willing to ha
your local U.S. attorney make informal card they want, or attach stickers to the check these with lists of Selective Ser- the Justice Department try to have n
arrangements to permit people to cards, so long as this does not obscure vice registrants to begin to locate those registrants prosecuted whether or
register late? pertinent information. Several groups who did not register. Selective Service they actually saw or heard Select
A: Such arrangements might be including C.A.R.D. are providing has also made it clear to Congress that, Service announcements or other ne
made, but there is no obligation for the gummed stickers which say "I am if non-registration is a serious problem, out their ohigation to registe.


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they will ask for a change in the
Federal Privacy Act to permit cross-
checks between Selective Service
registration lists and files of the Social
Security Administration and the Inter-
nal Revenue Service.
Q: If a person does not register, but is
not found for a year or more does he
still need to worry about prosecution?
A: Yes. Failure to register is a con-
tinuing offense. Under current law,
such an individual would be liable for
prosecution until he is 31 years old.
Q: Ifa person does not register can he:
emigrate to Canada or some other
A: It is more difficult now than in the
1960s for young Americans to move to
Canada and receive "landed im-
migrant status." The Canadian gover-
nment has not yet even indicated a
willingness to accept American non-
registrants. Thasituation is even more
difficult and complex in other coun-
tries. A person thinking about leaving
the U.S. should (1) talk to a lawyer in
the country to vhich he is considering
moving and Tind out about its im-
migration and extradition (do they send
"criminals" who fail to register for a
draft back to their home countries?)
policies, and (2) talk to a counselor or
lawyer about exactly what a person
gives up by becoming a federal fugitive
living abroad. If indicted, a person will
lose his right to return to the United
States (even for visits). He could be
permanently excluded as an un-
desirable alien if he obtains foreign
citizenship, even if he is never formally
indicted for non-registration.
Q: Is ita legal defense for a person to
fail to register because he says he is
conscientiously opposed to war and
conscription, and registration is an im-
portant part of that process?
A: His conscientious objection to war
or conscription is not a good defense
under current law. In one typical case,
a Quaker argued that he should be
permitted not to register as a part of the
freedom of religion guaranteed by the
First Amendment. The Department of

Q: Although many people did not
register during the last peacetime
registration, very few were prosecuted.
Cannot the few people who ARE
prosecuted claim that this is illegal
because they are being singled out for
A: Generally, "selective
prosecution" is not a valid defense. The
only way it might be successful is if the
defendant can prove that the
prosecutor is discriminating on the
basis of race or religion, or that the
prosecutor is redly interested in
stifling political activity and is using
the non-registration prosecution as an
"excuse". A defendant trying to argue
this "political" harrassment must
prove the wrongful intent of the
prosecutor and this is very difficult.
Q: What major defenses for non-
registration were rejected during the
last draft?
A: Arguments that registration was
unconstitutional because it excluded
women, because it was discriminatory
on the basis of age, because it was "in-
voluntary servitude," or because it was
inconsistent with the intent of the
Framers of the Constitution were rejec-
ted by lower courts. These issues have
not been definitely resolved by the
Supreme Court, but many Con-
stitutional scholars consider only the
exclusion of women asa viable attack.
Q: Is there any way in which a person
doing "draft counseling" could violate
the Military Selective Service Act?
A: Yes. Section 12(a) of the Act states
that "any person who ... knowingly
counsels, aids, or abets another to
refuse or evade registration" can be
punished, upon conviction, with up to
five years of imprisonment and/or a
$10,000 fine. The First Amendment
protects political speech which merely
expresses opposition to Selective Ser-
vice and support for draft resisters.
Urging non-registration to specific in-
dividuals, however, has led to suc-
cessful prosecutions under this section.



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