UJC's Story


by Thomas

August 1984

The undersigned witness does not agree with everything that Casimer Urban, Junior says, but he thinks that it's a crime against humanity, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to put him in a mental institution for saying it. Yet that is what has happened.

On July 17, 1984, Mr. Urban ("UJC") was lying on a blanket on a sidewalk in Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, before a sign which read "Welcome to Reaganville 1984, where sleep is considered a crime." UJC was not sleeping. He was protesting a recent Supreme Court decision ("CCNV") which he claimed nullified the Constitution. Nonetheless he was arrested and charged with "camping."

Taken before Federal Magistrate Jean Dwyer, UJC demanded to represent himself, claiming that the Constitution guaranteed him that right. He asked that his case be heard before a District Court judge, mentioning the possibility, in his opinion, that the matter might eventually be heard by the Supreme Court. Magistrate Dwyer overruled Mr. Urban's demand and appointed an attorney, Charles Chisholm, to speak for him, explaining that she wanted to insure that Mr. Urban's rights were protected.

Mr. Chisholm first made a motion that the charges be dismissed on the grounds that no camping regulations were posted in the park. When that motion, understandably( was denied by the magistrate, Mr. Chisholm then moved that UJC be committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for psychiatric examination.

While exiting the courtroom the witness asked Mr. Chisholm, "Precisely what was it that made you suspect that Mr. Urban might require psychiatric treatment?"

"Mr. Urban disagrees with the rules, the regulations, the values, and the structure of the system. In fact, he disagrees with just about everything about the system."

"Okay, but specifically what was it that made you question his sanity?"

"When someone disagrees with everything about the system it makes his life very difficult."

"No argument there, but specifically what was it that made you question his contact with reality?" Mr. Chisholm could offer no further elucidation.

On this day Mr. Urban, who claims an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marines, accomplished several firsts He was (1) arrested, (2) sent to jail, and (3) committed to a mental institution.

Several weeks later Nina Kraut, another lawyer, told this witness that Mr. Chisholm had said, "All those people in Lafayette Park are rioters, and deserve to be in prison."

In September a competency hearing was held before Federal District Court Judge Norma Johnson. Dr. Robert K. Madsen, Clinical Psychologist for St. Elizabeth's, wrote an opinion that Mr. Urban was incompetent to stand trial "by virtue of not having a rational understanding of the (legal) proceedings pending against him and not being able to consult with his counsel with a rational degree of reasonable understanding."

When the opinion was read to him by Judge Johnson, UJC interrupted, "That's because my counsel doesn't return my phone calls." Judge Johnson hushed UJC, admonishing him that his attorney's good intentions were clearly evidenced by the simple fact that he was in the courtroom on Mr. Urban's behalf. The judge failed to note that the attorney had been over three hours late for the hearing. (Experience of the witness attests to the fact that Mr. Chisholm doesn't always answer phone calls.)

"Furthermore," Dr. Madsen's report continued, "On July 17, 1984 Mr. Urban was suffering from a mental disease which affected his behavioral controls, and the alleged offense, if committed by him, was a product of a mental disease."

Mr. Chisholm failed to point out not only that the "alleged offense" was "camping," but also that the behavior and conduct which Dr, Madsen thought to be the product of a "mental disease" was nothing more than lying on a blanket on a sidewalk in front of a sign.

Dr. Madsen testified that "Mr. Urban may never be competent to stand trial in his life." Even if a judge can be found who considers lying on a blanket on a sidewalk to be "camping," the maximum sentence for "camping" is only six months in prison. Yet Mr. Chisholm seems to think it preferable to arrange for his client to be locked up in a mental institution for life.

In his testimony Dr. Madsen noted two examples which he represented as indicative of mental disease. First he related a question which he had posed to Mr. Urban. "If you lived in a group house, and all members of the house voted 'no eating in the living room,' and you ate in the living room, do you think your actions would negate the democratic process?" Dr. Madsen said Mr. Urban replied that the analogy was irrelevant, because what had happened to him was that the government had violated the Constitution and thereby itself had negated the democratic process.

The reason Mr. Urban might never understand the legal proceedings against him, Dr. Madsen said, was that UJC has very "deep rooted delusions" of having had understanding of what he called a "Unified Field Theory" from the age of three. Mr. Urban, the doctor said, felt that his Unified Field Theory would be of great benefit to humanity, and gave the doctor a piece of paper which had mathematical symbols and equations on it. Dr. Madsen added that the symbols and equations made no sense to him nor to any of the other hospital employees to whom he showed them.

In a telephone conversation with Mr. Urban the following day, the witness asked him how long Dr. Madsen had spoken with him. UJC said that during better than thirty days of "observation" he had not spoken with the doctor for more than a couple of hours total.

At that time the witness also asked UJC whether he felt it would be too great a compromise of his principles to soft peddle his Unified Field Theory until after he could be rescued from his predicament. "I have not been giving it the hard sell," UJC said. "I merely explained that this was my personal perspective of reality. That no one had ever shown me an error in my reasoning, and therefore, since it seems to work well for me, I can see no reason to change my perspective. I suggested that they send my equations to Harvard or M.I.T. to see if there were any errors in my formula."

This witness feels personally incapable of making an accurate determination as to whether UJC's Unified Field Theory is profound or fantastic; however, having observed Mr. Urban on a daily basis for an average of twelve to eighteen hours a day over a period of four months, there are certain personal observations that can be made without reservation. During that period UJC concentrated his effort to communicate his ideas, beliefs, and opinions without ever being aggressive or threatening. He was conscientious and responsible in his endeavors and personal hygiene, despite the handicaps of social ostracization which he suffered as a result of indigence. He was always independent, and never refused to be of assistance when needed.

Even assuming that UJC has believed in an erroneous Unified Field Theory for the last 32 of his 35 years, personally the witness would prefer him for a neighbor to a man who professed to protect us with an arsenal capable of ending all life on earth. The former misconception seems less lethal than the latter insanity.

UJC doesn't smoke, drink, or use drugs. Because he had refused the "psychotropic" medications which the hospital administration feels to be the only hope of getting Mr. Urban to see things from the perspective of the system, Judge Johnson ordered that Mr. Urban be given Prolixin, if necessary by force.

It is difficult to imagine how a system which professes to uphold the principle of individual freedom of belief could possibly order an individual to undergo chemotherapy in order to alter beliefs the validity of which that system had not bothered to ascertain.

Pursuant to the observations of this witness, the only logical conclusions he can draw are:

- AT BEST the arresting officer was ignorant, Mr. Chisholm was incompetent, Magistrate Dwyer ignored the most fundamental principles of the Constitution, the U.S. Federal Marshals acted the part of strongarm bullies, the staff of St. Elizabeth's played the role of devotion to the status quo, and Judge Norma Johnson illustrated absolute disregard for human rights, simple human dignity, and the most fundamental precepts of the Judeo-Christian ethic.

W. Thomas,
August, 1984