U.S. v THOMAS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MAGISTRATE JEAN DWYER
CASE No. 84-0054 M-1
February 21, 1984
STATEMENT OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN
SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
At approximately 6:15 am on January 31, 1984 Officer David
Haynes of the United States Park Police arrested the defendants,
Thomas, and Concepcion Picciotto, charging them with "camping"
in violation of 36 CFR 50.27(a). At the time of their arrest both
defendants were seated on the north sidewalk of Pennsylvania
Avenue, across the street from the White House. The sole purpose
of both defendants for being on Federal Park property at that
time was their attempt to maintain a round-the-clock vigil.
Defendant Thomas' purpose in the maintenence of this vigil was to
illustrate and practice his religious conviction that it is
better for one to endure privation than to enjoy indulgence at
the cost of another's oppression (to speak out against the forms
of political and technical insanity which presently threaten all
Life on Earth, to pass out printed matter in communication of his
ideas and to petition the Administrative Branch of the United
States Government for redress of a grievance of international
concern. Later that same day defendant Thomas appeared before
Magistrate Patrick Attridge for a bond hearing. Defendant Thomas
stated his intention to represent himself, and the Magistrate set
February 13, 1984 for arraignment. Arraignment was held on
February 10, 1984 before Magistrate Jean Dwyer. Both defendants
waived the right to have their cases heard before a District
Court judge, and elected to have the matter heard before a
Magistrate. Trial date was set for March 13, 1984.
BACKGROUND OF DEFENDANT THOMAS'
ACTIVITIES IN LAFAYETTE PARK
A. Although a background of this nature may run afoul of
traditional legal proceedure in a criminal action, 36 CFR 50.27(a),
the regulation under which defendants are charged, demands that
their activities be viewed "in light of all the circumstances."
B. Additionally, with regard to the First Amendment, U.S. v ABNEY
US App D.C. May 11, 1976, holds that in the "unusual circumstances"
of an individual demonstrator's round-the-clock vigil, "sleeping
must be taken to be sufficiently expressive in nature to implicate
First Amendment scrutiny in the first instance," but COMMUNITY FOR
CREATIVE NON-VIOLENCE v WATT, U.S. APP D.C. No. 82-0250 calls
for a "particularized message." This background particularizes the
C. Therefore, in the instant matter, not only is such a background
appropriate, but U.S. v. ABNEY demands it, and without it defendant
is denied due process.
1. At the age of twenty-eight, having traveled extensively
throughout the United States, Defendant Thomas' relation to his
environment altered radically. He ceased to be concerned solely
with himself, and those who were pleasant with him. The realization
dawned upon him that each person was merely a tiny part of an
immensely greater whole, and that the immensely greater whole was
imminently threatened by nuclear annihilation.
2. It seemed clear to the defendant that if Life was, for
whatever reason, eliminated from the Earth, it would be too late
for anyone to do anything about it. His initial analysis led the
defendant to believe that, given the prevailing political climate,
biocide (The murder of Life ) would be visited upon the Earth
as a result of the dispute as to whether the Capitalist or the
Communist theory of economics would produce the most favorable
lifestyle for Humanity.
3. Therefore, faced with the prospect of a perfectly good planet
foolishly wasted and of monumental boredom, the defendant set out
in search of solutions.
AA. Reasoning that military weapons, or, more precisely, the
varying breeds of economic theories,whose protection and prosperity
are reliant upon military weapons, threaten all life on Earth, the
defendant sought knowledge of economics, Theory comes from books,
but knowledge is gained from Life.
BB. He decided he needed a broader experience of Life, and that his
knowledge of economics would, in absolute terms, be accurate in
direct relation to his objectivity concerning economic theories.
CC. The defendant concluded that a potentially well-directed
beginning to his search would be a lengthy journey, through hostile
territory, without money.
11. Never having been abroad, and with only secondhand reports
and the American media from which to draw information, the defendant
chose North Africa for his experiment,
22. Walking from Casablanca to Cairo, the defendant felt, had been
a truly edifying experience. Being penniless had removed many of
the barriers from between the defendant and the native peoples
through which he traveled, and afforded him the unique perspective
of viewing a number of social systems from the bottom up.
33. These experiences led the defendant to conclude 1) thatCapitalist and Communist economic policy wreak havoc upon, and
cause inhuman suffering for, peoples in the Third World, and 2)
that secondhand reports, and the American media cannot be relied
on as sources of valid information.
X. For the next several years the defendant wandered around
Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Without exception, wherever
he traveled he discovered hypocrisy, which disgusted him, and that
knowledge was being widely applied in a destructive manner, which
also disgusted him.
Y. By this time the defendant's respect for Life and his
adoration of the Planet had multiplied itself greatly. The
defendant was certain that, with the technology presently available,
if knowledge were to be applied constructively, rather than
destructively, the Planet would be transformed from a place of
misery and hatred to one of joy and love.
Z. It was with this realization that the defendant came to view
"the constructive application of knowledge," as "Wisdom," and
developed a burning lust for that faculty.
I. Sometime after that, in Greece, the defendant learned that
"philos" meant "love"
II. A little later, in Bulgaria, he discovered that "sophia" meant
III. It was then the defendant realized, despite the fact he had
gone no further than the eigth grade of formal education, that he
was a "philosopher," at least in the etymological sense of the word.
(Consult Park Police arrest records and Pre-trial Services
information Porms as to defendant's "occupation.")
7. Since all rational philosophy must proceed from some rational
idea, and since many ideas which seem to be rational are in fact
not, the defendant decided to start simply. As the theoretical
basis for his philosophy the defendant chose the postulate that
"Truth is Absolute," meaning, of course, that Truth does not
change regardless of what individuals or groups of individuals may
chose to regard as being the "truth."
77. As a practical basis the defendant chose to view "Reality" as
"the hundred-odd elements which compose the Earth, and from which
every material thing on the Earth draws its existence," rather than
as "any one of the numerous systems of traditions, customs, religions,
political, economic, or judicial theories that abound in the world."
777. There can be no doubt but that there are individuals who would
question the defendant's choices. Perhaps it is not inconceivable
that there may even be those who would say that he is crazy for
believing such things. There might even be a few who would like
to imprison or in some other manner persecute the defendant for
his choice of beliefs. Without doubt there would be many quick to
note the defendant should thank God that he is ia the United States,
where those kind of things don't happen, but if the Court will have
just a little more patience, it will be seen that the defendant's
choice to be almost anywhere other than the United States is what
caused his vigil before the White house, occasioned his appearence
before this Court, caused the National park Service to discern a
"substantial government interest" where none had previously
existed and, hopefully, that it is the God-given, Constitutionally
protected right of the defendant to hold these beliefs.
0. Believing, as he does, that each human being is part of a
greater whole, namely the Human Race, the defendant holds that
wisdom demands each human treat all other humans as he himself would
like to be treated.
00. Because the defendant's experiences have convinced him, A)
that national boundaries and the nations which they delineate, are
products of human minds and warfare, rather than elemental Reality,
and B) that the United States of America is an organization which
treats human beings in a way which he himself would not like to be
treated, in order to insure the members of its organization a
pleasant and comfortable life, and because the defendant has yet
to meet another individual who has been able to convince him that
he has misinterpreted his experience,(See attachment I), the
defendant concluded that membership in the organizaeion of the
United States was incompatible with his philosophic beliefs, those
beliefs which constitute the religion of the Defendant.
000. Therefore on July 15, 1979, in London, England the defendant,
refusing to be fated by birth to a destructive relationship,
exercised his Freedom to decide what he would be, and declared
himself to be a Stateless Person, no longer a citizen of the United
States, by the symbolic act of tossing his passport into a river.
x. The Government of the United Kingdom insisted the defendant
could go nowhere but the United States.
xx. The defendant insisted that he wanted to travel to Israel.
the United States Governrnent insisted, to the defendant, that by the
laws of that country the defendant could not be forced to enter the
United States against his will.
xxx. Nonetheless, on October 2, 1980, after British authorities had
brought the defendant, by force of arms, to the United States,
United States authorities dragged him, despite his vehement protests,
into the United States.
S. Standing inside JFK Airport, inside the national boundary of
the United States without a passport, the defendant pondered his
situation with respect to his desire to travel to Israel.
SO. It occurred to him that, according to the American media,
he was in a position very similar to that of a man wanting to travel
to Israel from the Soviet Union.
SOS. Ironically the defendant thought, the two world governments
United States and the United Kingdom, which rationalize most loudly
about why it might prove necessary to destroy the Earth in order to
protect what they call "freedom," had, in violation of their own
laws, acted in concert to place him in that situation.
Z. As a result of that experience the defendant was led to
believe that what the United States and the United Kingdom represented
as "freedom" might mean something quite different than what Freedom
meant in Absolute Truth.
ZZ. This impelled the Defendant to ponder the question of exactly
what these two world powers meant when they used the word "freedom."
ZZZ. On January 16, 1981 (after reading a transcript of President
Ronald Wilson Reagan's inaugural address) the defendant was
convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that, within both countries,
"Freedom" was widely confused with the words "money," and "lifestyle."
(See Attachment II)
Q. In the defendant's mind this was an extremely serious matter
by virtue of the facts that 1) from an early age the people of both
the United States and the United Kingdom are taught that "freedom"
is something worth dying for, better yet, killing for; 2) in the
defendant's understanding while Freedom is worth dying for, it is
never achieved through killing 3) Money is worth neither dying
nor killing for, and 4) unprincipled people utilize untruths to
convince unknowledgable people that Evil is Good and, perhaps as
frequently, that Good is Evil.
QQ. To the defendant"s mind the most pressing problem facing the
Human Race is its pending extinction due to nuclear mismanagement,
which is Evil, but that Humanity, or at least "Western" humanity,
is too confused to do anything about the problem, because it has
been brainwashed into believing that nuclear weapons protect
Freedom, which many seem "good", theoretically. but, in Reality, is
QQQ. Therefore, the defendant concluded, that a constructive
application of his time toward the solution of the nuclear madness
problem would be to illustrate to the citizens of the United States
the difference between "freedom" meaning "money/lifestyle," and
Freedom meaning "the individual's right to decide his own course,"
and to demonstrate that Freedom is not, in Absolute Truth, a concern
of the United States Government.
$. Hence....reasoning that the most expeditious method available
penniless man to illustrate that life is more important than
lifestyle, and that living is more important than living
accommodations, which to the average United States citizen is
inextricaply linked to money, would be for that man to live, without
living accommodations, money, or a lavish lifestyle,
$$. and that to do so in a prominent place would illustrate the
ability of an individual to follow his own course.......
$$$. an June 3, 1981 the defendant began a vigil in front of the
White House with the intent of symbolizing the aforesaid principles,
and to petition the Government for redress of his grievance at
having been illegally and unwillingly brought into the country
against his will. (See Attachment III).
*. Sleeping on a sidewalk is crucial not only to the survival of
the defendant's Individual Freedom, but additionally to the
credibility of his message, and the faithful practice of his religion.
**. Because 1) the defendant holds that the only task worthy of one
who serves the Creator of the Universe, should a Faithful Servant
find himself trapped within as immoral and deceitful a social system
as that which is the United States of America, IS T0 RESIST THAT
SYSTEM, and 2) because the defendant respects Life and the rights
of others, the practice of defendant's religion demands that, in a
social system as corrupt as that of the United States, he number
himself with the least esteemed members of that system.
***. Therefore to force the defendant off the sidewalk is to force
him into a social system which not only did he resist entering in
tne first place, and is presently within as a direct result of
illegal actions on the part of representatives of the United States
Government, but is also a social system within which the defendant
cannot morally exist. (See Attachment IV)
Defendants Facts Continued
Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park