UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES )
versus ) CRIMINAL NUMBER 87-62
) Judge Charles Richey
WILLIAM THOMAS )
MOTION FOR JURY TRIAL AND
POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
Defendant William Thomas, presently pro se, respectfully
moves this Court for a jury in the above mentioned case. The right
to a jury trial is guaranteed twice in the United States Constitution.
U.S. Constitution, Article III Sec.2, cl.3; Amendment VI. The
fundamental importance of this right, particularly where First
Amendment values are at stake, counsels in favor of granting defendant's
request. Other factors also bear consideration.
First, this regulatory offense carries a maximum potential
sentence of six months incarceration and/ or a fine of $500. 36
CFR 50.5 (1986). Thus Thomas faces a possible six months imprisonment
plus a monetary punishment.
Second, the ''camping" regulation at issue, 36 CFR
7.96(i), is not the result of legislative enactment and executive
signature but is a regulation written by and for the executive
branch, and indisputably possesses the potential to be selectively
applied to further the suppression of expressive activities. This
potentially undemocratic aspect of the regulation recommends the
wisdom of submitting the case to a jury who represent the community
of Thomas' peers.
Third, value considerations for First Amendment exercise,
which constitutes "substantial money damages" (City
of Watseka v. Illinois Public Action Council, 796 F.2d 1559,
Summarily Affirmed by the Supreme Court, slip opinion 86-631,
decided January 27, 1987, White, J., The Chief Justice, and O'
Conner, 3. dissenting), must be considered separate.
The Supreme Court has indicated that the maximum limit on incarceration
for a particular offense is not necessarily dispositive of the
issue whether the defendant is entitled to a jury trial. SEE Baldwin
v. New York, 399 U.S. 66, 69 n.6 (1970); Duncan v. Louisiana,
391 U.S. 145, 159 (1968). 1/
In United States v. Craner, 652 F.2d 23 (9th Cir.
1981), Craner was convicted in a bench trial for a violation of
an Interior Department regulation which proscribes driving under
the influence of alcohol while in a National Park. The potential
penalty for such a violation was not only six months incarceration,
but also the loss of one's driver's license. The potential incarceration
of six months fell just below the six month and one day line above
which a jury trial is automatically required by Baldwin.
The court held that the added risk of losing his driver's license
entitled him to a jury trial. 652 F.2d at 27.
1/Granting a jury trial where an individual faces
six months of Incarceration is not unprecedented in this District.
In USA v. Thomas, CR. 83-186, Judge Oberdorfer granted Thomas'
motion for a jury trial where Thomas was charged with violating
36 CFR 50.19(3)(8)(i), which makes it unlawful to place a "structure"
on the White House sidewalk. Judge Oberdorfer explained that "[t}he
exposure of defendant to punishment not exceeding six months plus
the impairment of defendant's ongoing protest activity indicate
that the crime charged is not petty and that jury trial is in
order." Revised Memorandum at 4 (November 23, 1983; citing
Similarly, Thomas is entitled to a jury of his peers: the
chilling effect on his First Amendment rights elevate the government's
charge far above the realm of "petty." The factors articulated
above support the propriety of, as well as the constitutional
necessity for, a jury trial in this case.
WHEREFORE, Defendant respectfully requests a jury.
Respectfully submitted this 15th day April, 1987.
William Thomas, Pro Se
1440 N Street NW 410, DC 20005