Federal Judge Raps Treatment of Nisei Group During War
101 Evacuees Who Refused To Report for Induction Fined One Cent Each in U.S. Court
PHOENIX, Ariz.--In a ruling which severely criticized treatment accorded persons of Japanese ancestry during the war, Federal District Judge David Ling imposed fines of one cent each upon 101 Americans of Japanese ancestry for failure to respond to selective service calls while at the Colorado River relocation center at Poston, Arizona.
The 101 defendants had claimed that they had refused to answer Army induction calls on the ground that their rights as citizens had been violated by the evacuation and detention in a relocation center.
Judge Ling commended that the evacuation, according to Army officials on the West Coast, was carried out because of a fear of sabotage from persons of Japanese ancestry, and drafting of the evacuees who were interned in relocation centers was inconsistent with the mass evacuation program.
The Federal Judge agreed with the argument presented by A.L. Wirin of Los Angeles, representing the 101 evacuees that the resentment of the defendants to the draft, because of the unjust treatment accorded them in the evacuation and detention, was a natural reaction. He also ruled that the detention of the defendants at the Poston relocation center was punishment in advance for any offense which they may have committed by refusing to accept induction.
The court granted stays of executions of six months to three other defendants who were tried, convicted, and sentenced to one year in test cases in 1945 before the end of the war.
"That will give them time to apply for executive clemency from the President of the United States which will no doubt be granted," Judge Ling said.
Mr. Wirin called the attention of the court to the fact that all of the defendants, upon their release from Poston, were not unwilling to volunteer their services in the Army or submit to the orders of their draft board for induction and that twelve also had volunteered and were serving in the Army.
Counsel for the defendants indicated that all of those under indictment were willing to enter the Army if given probation on that condition.
The court waived this suggestion aside in imposing the one-cent fines and granting stays of the sentences already imposed.
Source: Pacific Citizen.October 12, 1946, page 3