Korematsu v. U.S., 584 F.Supp. 1406, 16 Fed. R. Evid. Serv.
1231 (N.D.Cal. Apr 19, 1984)
William T. McGivern, Asst. U.S. Atty., San Francisco, Cal., Victor Stone, Counsel for Special &
Appellate Matters, General Litigation & Legal Advice Section, U.S. Dept. of Justice,
Washington, D.C., for defendant.
Dale Minami, Minami & Lew, San Francisco, Cal., Peter Irons, Leucadia, Cal., Robert L. Rusky,
Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Stromberg, Ed Chen, Coblentz, Cahen, McCabe & Breyer,
Eric Yamamoto, San Francisco, Cal., for plaintiff.
PATEL, District Judge.
Fred Korematsu is a native born citizen of the United States. He is of Japanese ancestry. On
September 8, 1942 he was convicted in this court of being in a place from which all persons of
Japanese ancestry were excluded pursuant to Civilian Exclusion Order No. 34 issued by
Commanding General J.L. DeWitt. His conviction was affirmed.
Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214, 65 S.Ct. 193, 89 L.Ed. 194 (1944).
Mr. Korematsu now brings this petition for a writ of coram nobis to vacate his conviction on the
grounds of governmental misconduct. His allegations of misconduct are best understood against
the background of events leading up to his conviction.
On December 8, 1941 the United States declared war on Japan.
Executive Order No. 9066 was issued on February 19, 1942 authorizing the Secretary of War
and certain military commanders "to prescribe military areas from which any persons may be
excluded as protection against espionage and sabotage."
Congress enacted § 97a of Title 18 of the United States Code, enforcing the exclusions
promulgated under the Executive Order. Section 97a made it a misdemeanor for anyone to enter
or remain in any restricted military zone contrary to the order of a military commander.
In the meantime, General DeWitt was designated Military Commander of the Western Defense
Command which consisted of several western states including California.
On March 2, 1942 General DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 1 pursuant to Executive
Order 9066. The proclamation stated that "the entire Pacific Coast .
.. is subject to espionage and
acts of sabotage, thereby requiring the adoption of military measures necessary to establish
safeguards against such enemy operations."
Thereafter, several other proclamations based upon the same justification were issued placing
restrictions and requirements upon certain persons, including all persons of Japanese ancestry.