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Prosecutions of Draft Registration Resisters

20 in the USA since 1980 (none since 1986)

Uncle Sam: This is my final warning... either register for the draft or climb into the paddy wagon.

  • Violations of Selective Service laws and regulations: 20,000,000+ since 1980 (extrapolated from GAO and Selective Service System estimates of compliance rates; there has been no GAO or other independent audit of compliance with registration since 1982)

    • Nonregistration

      • Alternative To Current Draft Registration Needed Unless Level Of Compliance Improves
        (General Accounting Office report FPCD-82-20, April 19, 1982)
      • Selective Service System Peacetime Draft Registration Program
        (testimony of the General Accounting Office to Congress, July 28, 1982)
      • Selective Service System Annual Report to Congress, Fiscal Year 2015
        (See page 16: "If a man fails to register or fails to provide evidence that he is exempt from the registration requirement after receiving Selective Service reminder and/or compliance mailing, his name is referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for possible investigation and prosecution for his failure to register... During FY 2015, 146,997 names and addresses of suspected violators were provided to the DOJ." None of these nonregistrants were investigated or prosecuted by the DOJ.)
      • Registrants by state, Selective Service System Annual Report, FY 2015
        (See pp. 39-40. Not that these figures count as "in compliance" anyone aged 18-25 for which a registration has ever been received, regardless of when they registered or the accuracy of the address on file with the SSS)
      • Selective Service compliance rates by state, Calendar Year 2014
        (Men born in 1995 should have registered when they turned 18 in 2013, but this chart counts as "in compliance" those born in 1995 who registered any time until the end of 2014. That means men who registered 1-2 years late, after their year of peak draft risk, are counted by the SSS as having "complied". These figures also count as "in compliance" anyone who registered, regardless of whether they have moved or the accuracy of the address on file.)
      • Boston Globe
        (27 August 1980, page 1; the abstract is garbled but the full text is available for a fee from the Globe archives and in edited wire-service versions published in other newspapers; the original Globe front-page banner headline was apparently added in page makeup and is missing from the electronic archive. This number of nonregistrants in the initial age cohorts was later confirmed by the government, and was was twice as large as the most optimistic estimates by resistance organizations had been before registration began.)
      • Californians, as in 1960's, Lead in Resistance to Selective Service (New York Times, 22 August 1982)
        "For every one of those who openly say, 'I'm not going to register,' there are probably 50 to 100 who are doing it privately," said Fred Moore of the National Resistance Committee in San Francisco." (Despite the headline on this article, percentages of noncompliance are much higher in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. colonies where residents lack full U.S. voting rights but are subject to registration and the draft, although the largest number of Selective Service law-breakers is undoubtedly in California.)
    • Incomplete registration (no Social Security number, etc.)

    • Late registration

    • Change of address without notice to the SSS

    • Counseling, aid, or abetment of resistance

      "The case of the United States against Andy Mager is also the case of the United States against each of us, and against many others who are not here today. We are Andy's friends, family, and neighbors. His indictment is also an indictment of our work, of our beliefs, and of our feelings against registration, the draft, militarism, and war. We are here with Andy to answer your charges against us. For us to be here and to make this statement is for us to support, aid, and abet Andy, as unindicted co-defendants. We ask, if you convict Andy Mager, that you convict all of us, that you imprison all of us, or none of us." (Solidarity statement signed by 2,600 people and entered into the record by Andy at his sentencing in Syracuse, NY, 4 February 1985. Suppporters had attempted to read similar statements at court hearings in the cases of Edward Hasbrouck and Russ Ford.)
    • Conspiracy to counsel, aid, abet, or resist


  • picketing against prosecutions of draft resisterspicketing against prosecutions of draft resisters
    [Picket line and press conference with other (unindicted) nonregistrants and supporters in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco in July, 1982, one of more than 100 protests, marches, rallies, and vigils throughout the country within days after the first indictment of a nonregistrant, Ben Sasway, in San Diego. Each indictment of a nonregistrant prompted more young men to speak out publicly about their refusal to register. At least seveeral hundred young men who were required to register, and perhaps as many as several thousand, actively publicized their resistance or informed the government of their refusal to comply with the law, but only 20 were ever prosecuted. Many more women and older men who weren't required to register also violated the law by advocating, organizing, and asssisting resistance to draft registration, but none of them were prosecuted. Photos by Bev Ramsay for Resistance News.]

  • Indictments: 20 (19 for self-reported or self-publicized nonregistration; most recent indictment was that of of Terry Kuelper on 23 January 1986; interviews with current and former Selective Service officials about the prosecutions and why they ended)


  • "It's not a hate I want to apologize for.... Not hating was giving in, and giving in was a good way to end up like the Attorney General. None of us wanted that. We knew firsthand what he was all about. He made his living putting folks in a cage, and that has always seemed to me like a low way to live." (David Harris, "I Shoulda Been Home Yesterday", Delacorte Press, 1976)

    Wanted for Refusing to Kill Resist Draft Registration. Come to Ed Hasbrouck's Trial. Convicted: Six Men for Refusing to Register with Selective Service
    [Posters for demonstrations at the trial of Andy Mager in Syracuse, NY, and the trial and sentencing of Edward Hasbrouck in Boston, MA. More info.]

  • Convictions and Sentences: 15

    • Unsupervised probation: 1


    • Supervised probation with special conditions: 5


    • Federal Bureau of Prisons property stamp in book
      [Each book I was allowed to receive in the Federal Prison Camp had to be approved by the camp "counselor", James M. Swisher.]

    • Imprisonment: 9

      • Russ Ford (refused to accept conditions of release on bond, jailed 35 days pending trial, sentenced to the 35 days time he had already served)
      • Dan Rutt (3 months in "Community Correctional Facility" [halfway house])
      • Sam Matthews (sentenced originally to 1 year + 1 day, sentence commuted to time served and released unconditionally after 3 months)
      • Edward Hasbrouck (sentence originally suspended, probation later revoked, resentenced to 6 months, released unconditionally after 4 1/2 months)
      • Andy Mager (sentenced to 6 months, released unconditionally after 4 1/2 months)
      • Paul Jacob (sentenced to 6 months, released on probation after 5 months)
      • Gary Eklund (sentenced originally to 2 years, sentence commuted to 7 months, released unconditionally after 5 1/2 months)
      • Gillam Kerley (final resentencing following guilty plea was to probation, "voluntary public service", and fine, but had already been imprisoned for 6 months before original jury trial verdict and prison sentence were overturned on appeal)
      • Ben Sasway (sentenced to 2 1/2 years, released on parole after 6 months)

  • Ben SaswayMichael McMillan and Gillam Kerley
    Rusty MartinPaul Jacob and Jessica JacobGary Eklund
    Edward HasbrouckRussell F. FordAndy Mager
    Kendal Warkentine and Chuck EppDavid Wayte
    [Resistance News file photos, left to right, top to bottom: Ben Sasway outside the Federal courthouse in San Diego, CA, 1 July 1982, on the day after his indictment (photo © Nita Winter 1982); Michael McMillan (L) and Gillam Kerley (R) at press conference in Madison, WI, following their indictments on 8 September 1982; Rusty Martin at a demonstratioon outside the maon post office in Des Moines, IA, on the first day of draft registration, 21 July 1980; Paul Jacob with his daughter Jessica, Little Rock, AR, 1984; Gary Eklund, prosecuted in Des Moines, IA, at West Coast anti-draft gathering, San Diego, 1985 (photo by Bev Ramsay); Edward Hasbrouck, outside the Federal courthouse in Boston, MA, before his sentencing, 14 January 1983 (photo © Ellen Shub); Russ Ford outside the Federal courthouse in Hartford, CT, on the day of his trial, 15 April 1983 (photo by Carol Bellin); Andy Mager, in custody following his sentencing, Syracuse, NY, 4 February 1985 (photo by Paul Pearce, some rights reserved, CC BY-NC 2.0); Kendal Warkentine (L) and Chuck Epp (R) at press conference in Wichita, KS, folloowing their indictments, 22 September 1982 (photo by Larry Cornies); David Wayte, Los Angeles, CA, 1982 (photo by Paul Trudeau).]


  • Congressional hearings on the enforcement of draft registration

    • Judiciary implications of draft registration -- 1980
      (Hearings before the Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, 96th Congress, 2nd session, April 14 and May 22, 1980. See pp. 130-131 for the founding Call for Resistance by the National Resistance Committee, inserted in the hearing record by one of the witnesses.)
    • Selective Service Prosecutions -- 1982
      (Oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties, and the Administration of Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, 97th Congress, 2nd session, July 28, 1982.)
  • Articles and interviews by and about draft registration resisters in the 1980s

[Originally compiled by Edward Hasbrouck for the National Resistance Committee, and published in each issue of Resistance News. I've only linked to e-mail addresses that were already on the Web, but I'm in touch with some others of the indicted nonregistrants listed above.]


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