U.S. Supreme Court
Johnston v. United States, 351 U.S. 215 (1956)
Johnston v. United States
Argued May 2-3, 1956
Decided May 21, 1956
351 U.S. 215
These registrants under the Universal Military Training and Service Act were classified as conscientious objectors and were ordered by their local draft boards to report for civilian work at state hospitals located in judicial districts other than those in which they resided and were registered and where their orders were issued. They refused to report for work at the places designated, and each was indicted for a violation of § 12(a) of the Act.
Held: the venue for their trials was in the judicial districts where the civilian work was to be performed, not in the judicial districts in which they resided and where their orders were issued. Pp. 351 U. S. 216-223.
(a) The general rule is that, where the crime charged is a failure to do a legally required act, the place fixed for its performance determines the situs of the crime. P. 351 U. S. 220.
(b) The possibility that registrants might be ordered to report to points remote from the situs of draft boards neither allows nor requires judicial changes in the law of venue. P. 351 U. S. 220.
(c) The venue requirements of Article III of the Constitution and the Sixth Amendment state the public policy that fixes the situs of a trial in the vicinage of the crime, rather than where the accused is a resident, and a variation from that rule for the convenience of the prosecution or the accused is not justified. Pp. 351 U. S. 220-221.