Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County

Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. June 21, 1943. p. 1


Washington (UP) - The Supreme Court Monday upheld the convictions of Gordon K. Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui, American citizens of Japanese descent, for violating evacuation and curfew orders of the U. S. Army.

The decision was delivered by Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone on behalf of an unanimous court. It appeared to uphold fully the emergency power of the U. S. military commanders to evacuate, or otherwise restrict the activities of persons whose presence in defense zones they consider detrimental to the war effort.

Stone warned, however, that the court must guard carefully against misuse of such power, and that "when the danger is past the restrictions imposed on them should be promptly removed and their freedom of action fully restored."

Hirabayashi, of Seattle, and Yasui, of Portland, were convicted of violating orders issued by Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt, commandant of the Western Defense Command. The orders established strict control over movements of Japanese and Japanese descendants, and provided for evacuation of the Pacific Coast's 110,000 Japanese to relocation camps.

Stone said the charges against Hirabayashi of disobeying the curfew had no "Constitutional infirmity."

In the case of Yasui who received a sentence of one year imprisonment and a $5000 fine - Stone ordered that he be re-sentenced, however. Hirabayashi was sentenced to only three months imprisonment, but the heavier penalty was ordered against Yasui on grounds he had lost his American citizenship by reason of several trips back to Japan and other factors.

Stone said the question of Yasui surrendering his citizenship should not have been brought up in the present proceedings and that a new sentence should be imposed on him in that light.

Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.