PO Box 27217, D.C. 20038 - (202) 462-0757

July 1987


Multilingual sidewalk troubador and musical inspiration for Peace Park's "Ragtag Band" since he arrived September, 1986, Sunrise was recently found guilty of "camping" by U.S. District Court Judge Gasch and will be sentenced late in July.

Sunrise had been asleep beside his signs at 3:00 a.m., in the middle of winter. He was accused of using Lafayette Park for "living accommodations."

In support of his Motion to Dismiss Sunrise declared to the Court:

"All of my life, or as early as I can remember, I have been concerned about (a) the destruction of our planet, (b) war, as policy in foreign affairs, and (c) violence, corruption, and waste of resources in the United States.

"These concerns have led me onto a path which does not follow the 'norms' of society. I have chosen to live a life which does not harm people or the environment.

"Therefore I have given up all of my possessions and begun a serious study of the life of Jesus. I feel that the most beneficial way for me to live is as Jesus did because then I would be able to affect the world in the most positive and helpful way....

"After experiencing this way of living I am convinced that ... the more people start living this way, the sooner our problems on this planet will disappear.

"(O)ur country will reap what it sows just as will each individual; therefore I sow seeds, or actions, of peace ... in public, so as not to hide my light under a bushel.

"I promote non-violence in Lafayette Park (Peace Park), where I spend most of my time at my signs during a 24-hour peace and anti-war vigil. This method of communication has proven itself to be the only effective way of conveying my message which I have discovered. Although I would prefer to be living in the woods, my religion requires that I evangelize."

Judge Gasch denied Sunrise's motion without explanation.


In April of this year Judge Gasch's colleague in the District of Columbia federal courts, Judge Charles Richey, found that five defendants (including Sunrise) should NOT be brought to trial on camping charges, under identical circumstances, because they were exercising their First Amendment right to free expression, and the government had failed to provide "one scintilla of evidence" that it had an acceptable reason to interfere.

So the prosecutors went judge-shopping and dug up several dormant "camping" tickets which had been issued to Peace Park vigilers during the winter of 1987. Judge Harris will be the next federal judge to decide whether sleeping is camping.


The "camping" regulation which threatens Sunrise's (and others') freedom has contributed to six years of harassment, arrests, and confiscations of literature by U.S. Park Police (under order from Department of Interior lawyers).

Two other regulations have also been written aimed at discouraging 24-hour vigils. One prohibits stationary signs on the White House sidewalk. Another chains demonstrators to within 3 feet of their signs in Lafayette Park. (Several signs have been confiscated because demonstrators walked a few yards away for a moment.)

The "camping" regulation, vague and confusing, has been the most actively and subjectively enforced regulation written by the Department of Interior

lawyers, who "advise" the Park Police to enforce it despite a compelling ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1976:

"(I)n the unusual circumstances of an individual demonstrator's round-the-clock vigil (incidental) sleep which occurs during the course of the vigil must be considered sufficiently expressive in nature to implicate First Amendment scrutiny in the first instance," the Court of Appeals found in UNITED STATES V. STACY ABNEY. (Abney was a World War II veteran seeking benefits from the Veterans Administration.)

In 1984, although the supreme Court outlawed sleeping in tents in Lafayette Park (CLARK V. CCNV), the ABREY decision remained the "last word" regarding round-the-clock vigils. A footnote in the CCNV majority opinion noted:

"We need not disagree with the view of the Court of Appeals that sleeping in the context of demonstration is expressive activity which is protected to some extent by the First Amendment.

In 1984 vigil founder William Thomas filed a civil conspiracy suit charging the Executive branch of government with "nickle-and-diming the First Amendment to death." This suit, THOMAS v. USA, CA 84-3552, is pending trial and will hopefully clarify and resolve the dispute between force and logic on America's First Amendment front lines.



Since at least 1917, Lafayette Park has been the site of dozens of demonstrations each year. Last month, for example, there were rallies to:

* impeach Meese, Bush, and Reagan. (The cops got rough.)

* plead for AIDS research. (The cops wore rubber gloves.)

* support South Korean students' demand for the vote (before their government capitulated).

* protest South Africa.

* demand an end to nuclear testing (American Peace Test).


Some pending charges against demonstrators in Peace Park

Conception Picciotto: "storage of property" (literature, camera, and other formerly permitted communication material)

William Thomas: "camping"

Ellen Thomas: "camping," unlawful sign on White House sidewalk"

Carl Musser: "abandoned signs" -(more than three feet away)

Bob Dorrough*; John Kelly: "interfering with police officer" (for claiming Musser's signs)

Lynn Fredriksson: "demonstrating without a permit;" (American Peace Test action on White House sidewalk) "unlawful structure" (sitting under plastic in the rain)

[Bob Dorrough, who has compiled the second longest list of arrests at the White House since he began vigiling in 1983, recently won dismissal of a charge for "unlawful structure."

Dorrough was building a February snow castle, which Park Police smashed three times in 24 hours. This highly-publicized icecapade, which captured the usually jaded imagination of the D.C. papers and TV stations, made a few official faces red.]


Yours in determination for peace,

SINCE 6-3-81