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Conscience and the Constitution
  Mass Trial of 63
Mass Trial of 63

So many draft resisters were arrested they had to be spread to county jails throughout Wyoming State. The JACL's Min Yasui paid a visit to one jail where the men felt he was looking for someone to "name names" to implicate leaders of the Fair Play Committee. The resisters kept their spirits high awaiting trial by composing a "Song of Cheyenne" in Japanese and singing it under the noses of their jailers. On the first day of trial, a photographer from the Wyoming Eagle posed them in the courtroom for posterity. Shigeru Fujii came first alphabetically, and so his name was given for the case.

Unwilling to take their chances with an all-white jury in a remote state during a world war, the resisters asked the judge to rule on their act of civil disobedience, hoping he would rule on the basis of law rather than emotion. But Federal District Court Judge T. Blake Kennedy found them guilty of draft evasion as charged and sentenced them to three years in a federal penitentiary. Half were sent to Leavenworth, Kansas, the rest to McNeil Island, Washington.

Documents, Photographs and Video Get RealPlayer 
Song of Cheyenne
Composed inside jail, this song lyric was found on a scrap of paper in the wallet of resister James Kado.
original original text text

MITS KOSHIYAMA (1 min 3 sec)
Koshiyama recalls two spontaneous moments during the trial.

text text video video: 56k | DSL
Court Documents
Grand jury indictment (May 10, 1944)
2 pages.
original original

Judgment and sentencing memorandum (June 26, 1944)
10 pages.
original original

Transcript of judgment and sentencing hearing Excerpt (June 26, 1944)
The young men rise for sentencing. 4 pages.
original original

Written verdict form (June 26, 1944)
original original

Order of judgment and sentence (June 26, 1944)
original original

Appeal (June 29, 1944)
original original

Judge T. Blake Kennedy
Federal District Court judge for Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1944. Known for presiding over the Teapot Dome bribery trial of 1929. (Wyoming State Museum)
original photo

"63 Japs Are Given 3-Year Terms in Pen" (Wyoming Eagle, June 27, 1944)
original original


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