Enten Eller, the 20-year-old Virginia college senior and the first man convicted of failing to register for the draft, has told his lawyer he plans to risk a five-year prison term by defying the order of a federal judge to sign up by Monday.
"Enten has told me he is very doubtful that his mind will be changed," said his attorney Jonathan Rogers of Roanoke. "He has not wavered a bit." Rogers said that Eller, a member of the Church of the Brethren which espouses pacifism, still stands by statements he made during his trial that he is obeying God's will by not registering.
On Aug. 17, U.S. District Court Judge James C. Turk placed the youth, a polite honors student at Bridgewater College in Harrisonburg, on three years probation conditional on his registration within 90 days. Immediately following his conviction Eller announced he planned to continue to refuse to register, citing obedience to "a higher judge."
Should Eller fail to register by Monday's deadline, the court is expected to revoke his probation and schedule a hearing later this month. Assistant U.S. Attorney E. Montgomery Tucker said yesterday he plans to ask Turk to send the youth to prison.
In lieu of a prison sentence, Turk could fine Eller, order him to perform alternative service or extend the original deadline. "He is clean-cut, frail and scholarly," Rogers said. "He would be destroyed in jail and I don't think the judge will do that."