STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
v. Cr. Nos. 8761, 62, and 63
Stephen Semple, aka
Sunrise, RECEIVED Dec 22 4:01 PM'87
William Thomas, and JAMES F. DAVEY,CLERK
Ellen Thomas U.S. DISTRICT COURT
Defendants. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
MOTION TO RECONSIDER
On December 15, 1987, after a bench trial, this Court convicted
these defendants of having violated 36 CFR 7.96 pursuant to citations
issued by U.S. Park Police Officer Peter Ward on December 22,
1986. Defendants hereby move the Court to reconsider A)
the elements of the offense,and/or B) intent.
TESTIMONY AT TRIAL
Defendants proffer that the testimony at trial is undisputed
as to the purported elements of the violation.
1. Each defendant had an insulated bag (commonly
known as "sleeping bag"), or blankets, and the temperature
was 32 degrees.
2. Defendant Ellen Thomas was not shown to have been
sleeping, and Officer Ward testified that she was responsive and
appeared to be awake.
3. Defendant William Thomas admitted to having napped
for an hour and a half.
4. Defendant Sunrise may have slept for a short period.
5. There was not clear evidence that defendant Sunrise
was storing any property.
6. Officer Ward testified that William and Ellen
Thomas had two plastic bags, but that he did not know what the
bags contained. Thomas testified that the plastic bags contained
his and Ellen Thomas' papers and literature.
7. Winnifred Gallant testified, and there was photographic
evidence to support her testimony, that the Thomases had what
would reasonably be considered "living accommodations"
at 1440 N Street.
8. Richard Robbins of the DOI Solicitor's Office testified
as to the permissibility under existing regulations of having
an insulated ("sleeping")bag, and of sleeping in the
park during a continuous presence, and the Court saw evidence
(Defendants' Exhibit 2, Mr. Robbins letter of May 8, 1986) that
"certain personal property that is reasonably required by
a demonstration participant during any one 24hour period will
not be considered to violate the storage of property regulations."
9. Finally, there was ABSOLUTELY no evidence at
trial which might indicate that any defendant caused any damage
or "impacts which the area could not sustain."
A. THE ELEMENTS
On December 18, 1987, continuing their lengthy tradition
of attempting to maintain a continuous presence in Lafayette Park
without violating the existing regulations, defendants William
and Ellen Thomas applied to the National Park Service for a Permit
to conduct a continuous demonstration in Lafayette Park. SEE
Exhibit 1, attached hereto.
In response to the permit application of December 18, 1987,
on December 21, 1987 the National Park Service granted Public
Gathering Permit, No. 871024. SEEExhibit 2, attached
From the "Plans for proposed activity" (Exhibit
1, page 2, para. 10), and from the "List (of) props"
(id. para. 11), defendants submit it is selfevident that
the activity and items which the Park Service has allowed under
Public Gathering Permit, No. 871024, are precisely the activities,
and with fewer items, for which this Court convicted these defendants
on December 15, 1987.
It is true that these defendantsd dneither filed for nor
had such a permit on December 22, 1986,d dthe date of the alleged
violation for which they stand convictedd dby this Court. However
under the provisions of 36 CFR 7.96 (g)(2)(i)d dsuch a permit
was not required:
"Demonstrations involving 25 persons or fewer may
be held without a permit..." SEEExhibit 3, attached
Defendants represent that Exhibits 1 and 2 should constitute
concrete proof that the activity in which they were engaged on
December 22, 1986, and for which this Court convicted them on
December 15, 1987, was not only permitted under the applicable
regulations, but was also a valid demonstration entitled to protection
under the First Amendment.
First, defendants would ask the Court to consider that
the INTENT of the regulation has been clearly stated: "Camping
is defined as the use of park lands for living accommodation
purposes. The regulations banning the use of parks for
living accommodations are designed not to stifle First Amendment
expression, but to >protect undesignated parks from
activities for which they are unsuited and the impacts of
which they cannot sustain." Federal Register, vol.
47, No. 108, page 34032 (emphasis added).
Second, defendants would ask the Court to consider whether
the regulation itself is not ambiguous on its face with regard
to intent. Camping is defined in the regulation as:
"the use of park land for living accommodation purposes
[intent] such as sleeping activities, or making preparations
to sleep (including the laying down of bedding for the purpose
[intent] of sleeping), or storing personal belongings, or making
any fire, or using any tents or shelter or other structure or
vehicle for sleeping or doing any digging or earth breaking or
carrying on cooking activi&SHY;ties. The abovelisted activities
constitute camping when it reasonabley appears, in light of all
the circumstances, that the participants, in conducting these
activities, are in fact using the area as a living accommodation
regardless of the intent of any other activity in which they
might be engaged." 36 CFR 7.96 [brackets added].
Third, defendants ask the Court, without applying a double
standard (because we believe that to do so would be unreason&SHY;able),
to consider whether the record at trial supports that the defend&SHY;ants
had what the Court would "reasonably" consider
to be "living accommodations" for itself, and whether
it was the intent or purpose of the defendants to sleep, and whether
it is beyond a reasonable doubt that those who may have been sleeping
might simply have fallen asleep involuntarily without any intent.
While the defendants appreciate that law is essential for
social wellbeing, they are compelled to respectfully proffer their
opinion that law without reason is not justice, but tyranny.
Therefore defendants ask the Court to reverse its guilty
verdict in this case because A) the activity for which defendants
stand convicted is permissible under the regulations, and/or B)
it is not reasonable to consider a blanket or sleeping bag on
a sidewalk in freezing weather to be "living accommodations,"
and it is not clear beyond reasonable doubt that defendants intended
to use the park for "living" or even sleeping "accommodations."
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I, William Thomas, hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing
Motion To Reconsider was served upon Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark
Dubester, by First Class U.S. mail, postage prepaid,on December
P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038
1440 N Street, N.W. Apt. 410
Washington, D.C. 20005
1440 N Street, N.W. Apt. 410
Washington, D.C. 20005