United States,

      v.                 Cr. Nos. 8761, 62, and 63            
                         Judge Richey
Stephen Semple, aka 
Sunrise,                    RECEIVED Dec 22 4:01 PM'87
William Thomas, and         JAMES F. DAVEY,CLERK
Ellen Thomas                 U.S. DISTRICT COURT
      Defendants.           DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA



On December 15, 1987, after a bench trial, this Court convicted these defendants of having violated 36 CFR 7.96 pursuant to citations issued by U.S. Park Police Officer Peter Ward on December 22, 1986.  Defendants hereby move the Court to reconsider A) the elements of the offense,and/or B) intent.


Defendants proffer that the testimony at trial is undisputed as to the purported elements of the violation.

1.  Each defendant had an insulated bag (commonly known as "sleeping bag"), or blankets, and the temperature was 32 degrees.

2.  Defendant Ellen Thomas was not shown to have been sleeping, and Officer Ward testified that she was responsive and appeared to be awake.

3.  Defendant William Thomas admitted to having napped for an hour and a half.

4.  Defendant Sunrise may have slept for a short period.

5.  There was not clear evidence that defendant Sunrise was storing any property.

6.  Officer Ward testified that William and Ellen Thomas had two plastic bags, but that he did not know what the bags contained. Thomas testified that the plastic bags contained his and Ellen Thomas' papers and literature.

7. Winnifred Gallant testified, and there was photographic evidence to support her testimony, that the Thomases had what would reasonably be considered "living accommodations" at 1440 N Street.

8. Richard Robbins of the DOI Solicitor's Office testified as to the permissibility under existing regulations of having an insulated ("sleeping")bag, and of sleeping in the park during a continuous presence, and the Court saw evidence (Defendants' Exhibit 2, Mr. Robbins letter of May 8, 1986) that "certain personal property that is reasonably required by a demonstration participant during any one 24hour period will not be considered to violate the storage of property regulations."

9. Finally, there was ABSOLUTELY no evidence at trial which might indicate that any defendant caused any damage or "impacts which the area could not sustain."



On December 18, 1987, continuing their lengthy tradition of attempting to maintain a continuous presence in Lafayette Park without violating the existing regulations, defendants William and Ellen Thomas applied to the National Park Service for a Permit to conduct a continuous demonstration in Lafayette Park. SEE Exhibit 1, attached hereto.

In response to the permit application of December 18, 1987, on December 21, 1987 the National Park Service granted Public Gathering Permit, No. 871024.  SEEExhibit 2, attached hereto.

From the "Plans for proposed activity" (Exhibit 1, page 2, para. 10), and from the "List (of) props" (id. para. 11),  defendants submit it is selfevident that the activity and items which the Park Service has allowed under Public Gathering Permit, No. 871024, are precisely the activities, and with fewer items, for which this Court convicted these defendants on December 15, 1987.

It is true that these defendantsd dneither filed for nor had such a permit on December 22, 1986,d dthe date of the alleged violation for which they stand convictedd dby this Court. However under the provisions of 36 CFR 7.96 (g)(2)(i)d dsuch a permit was not required:

"Demonstrations involving 25 persons or fewer may be held without a permit..."  SEEExhibit 3, attached hereto.

Defendants represent that Exhibits 1 and 2 should constitute concrete proof that the activity in which they were engaged on December 22, 1986, and for which this Court convicted them on December 15, 1987, was not only permitted under the applicable regulations, but was also a valid demonstration entitled to protection under the First Amendment.


First, defendants would ask the Court to consider that the INTENT of the regulation has been clearly stated:
"Camping is defined as the use of park lands for living accommodation purposes.  The regulations banning the use of parks for living accommodations are designed not to stifle First Amendment expression, but to >protect undesignated parks from activities for which they are unsuited and the impacts of which they cannot sustain." Federal Register, vol. 47, No. 108, page 34032 (emphasis added).

Second, defendants would ask the Court to consider whether the regulation itself is not ambiguous on its face with regard to intent. Camping is defined in the regulation as:

"the use of park land for living accommodation purposes [intent] such as sleeping activities, or making preparations to sleep (including the laying down of bedding for the purpose [intent] of sleeping), or storing personal belongings, or making any fire, or using any tents or shelter or other structure or vehicle for sleeping or doing any digging or earth breaking or carrying on cooking activi­ties. The abovelisted activities constitute camping when it reasonabley appears, in light of all the circumstances, that the participants, in conducting these activities, are in fact using the area as a living accommodation regardless of the intent of any other activity in which they might be engaged." 36 CFR 7.96 [brackets added].

Third, defendants ask the Court, without applying a double standard (because we believe that to do so would be unreason­able), to consider whether the record at trial supports that the defend­ants had what the Court would "reasonably" consider to be "living accommodations" for itself, and whether it was the intent or purpose of the defendants to sleep, and whether it is beyond a reasonable doubt that those who may have been sleeping might simply have fallen asleep involuntarily without any intent.

While the defendants appreciate that law is essential for social wellbeing, they are compelled to respectfully proffer their opinion that law without reason is not justice, but tyranny.


Therefore defendants ask the Court to reverse its guilty verdict in this case because A) the activity for which defendants stand convicted is permissible under the regulations, and/or B) it is not reasonable to consider a blanket or sleeping bag on a sidewalk in freezing weather to be "living accommodations," and it is not clear beyond reasonable doubt that defendants intended to use the park for "living" or even sleeping "accommodations."

Respectfully submitted,

P.O. Box 27217
Washington, D.C. 20038

William Thomas
1440 N Street, N.W. Apt. 410
Washington, D.C. 20005

Ellen Thomas
1440 N Street, N.W. Apt. 410
Washington, D.C. 20005


I, William Thomas, hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing Motion To Reconsider was served upon Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Dubester, by First Class U.S. mail, postage prepaid,on December 22,1987. 

William Thomas