In what court officials said was one of the most unusual sentences in recent memory, a 24-year-old Whittier man was ordered Tuesday to spend six months under house arrest at his grandmother’s home for failing to register for the military draft.
U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. in Los Angeles imposed the sentence on David Alan Wayte, who wrote to then-President Jimmy Carter that he did not intend to register when the military draft was reinstated in 1980.
Wayte, who faced a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, pleaded guilty earlier this year after exhausting an appeal that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This is the most difficult sentencing I have had . . . (in) more than 25 years (in the judicial system),” Hatter said before imposing the sentence.
Hatter said he had decided on probation and house arrest to prevent Wayte, a former philosophy student at Yale University, from doing community service work, which he does at a school for the developmentally disabled and at a soup kitchen and shelter for the homeless, both in Pasadena.
Said Hatter: “I’m punishing you by not allowing you to perform such service.”
Wayte’s attorneys had asked the judge to impose community service as punishment.
It was not immediately known how the federal Probation Office will monitor Wayte to insure that he is complying with the house arrest at the three-bedroom home he shares with his wife, Jacqui, and his 76-year-old disabled grandmother, Helen.
To date, eight men convicted of draft evasion have received sentences ranging from probation and community service to 2 1/2 years in prison. Last April, Benjamin Sasway, 24, of San Diego was sentenced by a federal judge in San Diego to 2 1/2 years in prison for failing to register. After the sentencing, Wayte told reporters, “This (non-registration) is still a matter of deep conscience to me. I think that the restriction (house arrest) is punishment enough.”