BOSTON -- A federal judge declined to jail a long-haired draft resister, saying the offender was acting out of 'personal concern,' but the youth said he wasn't satisfied with his probation.
U.S. District Court Judge David Nelson sentenced Edward Hasbrouck Friday to two years' probation and 1,000 hours of community service for refusing to register with the Selective Service.
But Hasbrouck, 23, of Wellesley, said he and the judge have an ideological conflict about community service.
'The most important work, in the interests of the human community, is to work against the nuclear arms buildup in the United States,' he said.
Nelson suggested that Hasbrouck work with the elderly, the poor or in a hospital.
The judge also imposed a six-month suspended prison sentence, which he can invoke if Hasbrouck refuses to do the proscribed volunteer work.
'It's possible I may end up serving the six-month sentence,' Hasbrouck said. 'But even that six months is short compared with the sentence that might have been imposed.'
Nelson rejected the U.S. attorney's recommendation that Hasbrouck be sentenced to two years in prison.
'I cannot agree that this offense and the circumstances of this offense merit incarceration, unless I care to make a political statement,' Nelson said in sentencing Hasbrouck.
'I think I've at least come to know that, although you are clearly in defiance of the law, you are acting out of personal concern,' he said.
Hasbrouck, the sixth man in the nation convicted of refusing to register, said he hoped his case would focus attention on what he called government attempts to silence opposition to the draft.
He said Nelson's rejection of the U.S. attorney's recommendation for a prison sentence 'represents a realization by a federal judge that they are attempting to harass and intimidate people into registering.'
Hasbrouck, his red hair cascading past his shoulders, entered the courtroom wearing a rainbow-striped bowtie and a red rose on the lapel of his brown tweed jacket.
Acting as his own attorney, Hasbrouck told Nelson a prison sentence would not persuade people to register. 'It can only serve as a deterrent for people to do what I have done -- speaking out directly to the government,' he said.
Hasbrouck was indicted after he wrote a letter explaining to Selective Service officials his reasons for failing to register.
Hasbrouck was convicted by a jury Dec. 15, and faced up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He had been free on bail.
The government has indicted 14 of the more than 500,000 men who failed to register with the Selective Service. Six -- including Hasbrouck - have been convicted, one case was dismissed and another put off indefinitely.
Prosecutor Robert Mueller said Hasbrouck should be imprisoned because he saw himself as above the law.
'He thinks the courts should be run the way he wants them to be run. He thinks the government, the country should be run the way he wants them to be run,' Mueller said.
More than 100 supporters, including Hasbrouck's mother, Marguerite, watched the procedings in a packed courtroom of the John W. McCormack Post Office Building.