Watt v. CCNV

Watt v. Community for Creative Non-Violence Slip Opinion No. 82-2445, 82-2477 (___ F.2d ___) (D.C. Cir. 1983) Argued January 14, 1983, decided March 9, 1983.

"To understand fully the government's current policy on sleeping in the capitol's parks, it is important to note that sleeping is not, PER SE, Illegal. Visitors to the capitol, or workers on their lunch breaks, may safely catnap for short periods of time without running afoul of the law. Sleeping in these circumstances conjures up no threats to peace and public order. Although the Park Service's anti-loitering regulation prohibits sleeping with intent to remain for more than four hours, it contains an exception for those with the proper authorization or the superintendent of the National Parks. And as mentioned the government's camping regulation also allows for "sleeping activities" that are not deemed to constitute use of the area for living accommodation.

An example of the discretion inherent in this latter determination is evidenced by the Park Service's authorization, for participants in a Vietnam Veteran's demonstration on the Mall in May 1982, of all night sleep at a mock Vietnam era firebase where some of the demonstrators were periodically roused to stand symbolic guard duty ... The only apparent distinction between the sleeping in the veteran's demonstration and the sleeping proposed by CCNV is that the veterans slept on the ground without any shelter. According to the Park Service's interpretation of the new regulations, one's participation in a demonstration as a sleeper becomes impermissible "camping" when it is done within any temporary shelter erected as part of the demonstration.
Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park