UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
vs. CR 87-0062(CRR)
TRANSCRIPT OF SENTENCING HEARING
January 28, 1988 - 9:30 a.m.
U. S. Courthouse, Washington, D. C.
BEFORE THE HON. CHARLES R. RICHEY, U. S. DISTRICT JUDGE
FOR THE GOVERNMENT:Mark Dubester, Esq.
Assistant U. S. Attorney
FOR THE DEFENDANTS:Mona Asiner, Esq.
Counsel for Defendant Semple
Robert M. Hurley Esq.
Counsel for Defendant Ellen Thomas
Frank J. Rangus
Official Court Reporter
6814 U. S. Courthouse
Washington, D. C. 20001
The Defendants, William Thomas, Ellen Thomas, Stephen Semple,
and Philip Joseph, in person.
January 28, 1988 - 9:30 a.m.
THE CLERK: Criminal Action 87-0062, United States
of America vs. William Thomas and Criminal Action 87-0064,
United States of America vs. Ellen Thomas. For the government
Mark DuBester. Also representing Miss Thomas, Mr. Robert Hurley.
MR. HURLEY: Good morning, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Good morning. All right, you may proceed.
Mr. Thomas, are you ready to proceed?
MR. HURLEY: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: We've been waiting 15 minutes.
MR. THOMAS: Sorry. Your Honor, I had a little trouble
getting here. We had a little trouble getting through security
with all the boxes. Sorry. Are we hearing the motion for reconsideration?
THE COURT: We're here for sentencing.
MR. THOMAS: Oh.
THE COURT: I assume you have no counsel yet, still.
MR. THOMAS: No, I have no counsel, but are you aware
of the motion for reconsideration? I received a notice that said
that there was going to be a hearing and/or sentencing, and I
THE COURT: Let me (pause) -- yes: I'm aware of it,
Mr. Thomas. I have it and I have the government's opposition,
and the Court's considered it. If you want to
say anything that's not in the motion, I'll be glad to hear
MR. THOMAS: I have nothing to say on the motion,
if there's no questions.
THE COURT: Does the government have anything you
wish to say?
MR. DUBESTER: No, Your Honor.
THE COURT: All right, then we'll proceed to the
sentencing. The motion to reconsider will be denied. Anything
you wish to say before the court imposes sentence Mr. Thomas?
MR. THOMAS: I'd like to ask for a continuation,
postponement, of the sentence, so that I can submit written objections
to the report, mostly for a video tape presentation that we would
like the court to consider before it passes sentence.
THE COURT: Would you refresh the court's recollection
as to the date you were found guilty, sir?
MR. THOMAS: December 15th.
THE COURT: Mr. Thomas let me ask you this: When
were you advised of the availability of the presentence investigation
report for your review?
MR. THOMAS: I reviewed it on Friday.
THE COURT: That didn't answer my question.
MR. THOMAS: That was the first day it was ready.
had to wait for it to be prepared.
THE COURT: Miss Best, when was it finished?
THE PROBATION OFFICER: On Friday Your Honor.
THE COURT: That's the 22nd of January?
THE PROBATION OFFICER: Yes Your Honor.
THE COURT: Did you read it on Friday, sir?
MR. THOMAS: Yes I did but I would make my motion
pursuant to Local Rule 311, asking for 27 days.
THE COURT: Well, it is in the discretion of the
court under Rule 311.
MR. THOMAS: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: That is not binding. Tell me why you
need more time.
MR. THOMAS: Well, I would like, I think that the
presentence report is lacking a lot of things. That's my main
concern. There are a lot of things that should be in there that
aren't, and I'm, I've tried to make some attempts to present it
to you. I was thinking the video tape, for one, which is something
that you could review at your leisure. I have a partial list of
objections that I have, and I would --
THE COURT: Well, how much time do you need? What
is it that you object to in the presentence investigation report
that is material to the question before the court at sentencing?
MR. THOMAS: Okay, I think that the main thing is
the representation that I have done nothing to avoid rearrest.
I think that that's a very damning representation, and I can't
understand why it was made because --
THE COURT: Well, let me ask you this, Mr. Thomas,
Is it not true that you've had during the course of your career,
life, 31 prior arrests, not counting the instant case? Isn't that
MR. THOMAS:: Well, that is one thing that I wanted
to get into dealing with the inaccuracy.
THE COURT: Well, it's just a simple fact. Is it
true or isn't it?
MR. THOMAS: Well, I haven't kept track, but there's
more than that actually.
THE COURT: Been more than 31?
MR. THOMAS: Yes but I think
THE COURT: Let me ask you --
MR. THOMAS: I think they fail into two distinct
categories if I might point out.
THE COURT: What are they?
MR. THOMAS: The ones prior to my change of heart
and the ones since my change of heart.
THE COURT: What do you mean by that, sir?
MR. THOMAS: Well, I think that when I was a youth,
I was very confused and I did a lot of things that were
antisocial. Since I've had my change of heart, every single
arrest that I've had has been for basically what I'm here for
now, just trying to communicate.
THE COURT: Very well. Now, isn't it a fact that
you have been arrested for demonstrating in and around the White
House and as a result of that sustained seven convictions?
MR. THOMAS: That's accurate, yes; however---
THE COURT: Now, wait a minute. May I ask you some
MR. THOMAS: Yes.
THE COURT: Have you been placed on probation for
those seven convictions?
MR. THOMAS: I have.
THE COURT: Is it also true or not true, tell me,
that after having been convicted. placed on probation, you went
back to Lafayette Park to do the same or similar thing that you
had been convicted for?
MR. THOMAS: I did, and now I have a permit to do
THE COURT: All right. Now, let me ask you this:
what means of support have you had during the past ten years,
visible means of support, to earn a living, pay your taxes, and
do that sort of thing?
MR. THOMAS: That's the entire point of my beliefs.
I live very simply. I don't have any visible means of support.
THE COURT: And your whole purpose in life, as the
court understands it, has been to engage in activity to demonstrate
against the policies of the government.
MR. THOMAS: No, that's not correct.
THE COURT: That's not true?
MR. THOMAS: It's not true.
THE COURT: All right. Well, let me see if I can
make it so that is correct, and I thank you for your answer. Mr.
Thomas, during this period of time, say the last ten years, you
have been generally protesting against certain activities pursuant
to your claimed rights under the First Amendment to the Bill of
Rights to the Constitution, have you not?
MR. THOMAS: If I have been protesting against anything,
I have been protesting against force and violence. I like to think
that what I'm doing is acting as a proponent of reason and logic.
THE COURT: Whatever it is, sir, whatever it is,
you have been exercising your rights under the First Amendment
as you see it; is that correct?
MR. THOMAS: As I see it, yes; however, and that's
what all the boxes are for (indicating). You asked me what my
visible means of support are. Those boxes are my work product
for the last three years, that representing multiple thousands
of hours. I've done the typing, filing, the
research, the messenger work, I put in as many law hours, I
would venture to say, as probably any lawyer in the District,
and the purpose that I have been doing this for is specifically
to avoid rearrest.
The civil action that I have pending, Thomas vs.
United States, 84-3552, the record is 46 inches tall. In
my opinion, it boils down to one page, on the page where I asked
for mandamus relief, to define the terms "casual sleep,"
"camping," and "storage of property," in order
that I can maintain my continuous presence without running afoul of the regulations.
that I've been staying in one place is because there's one of
two possibilities: either I have something of value for people
to hear or I'm crazy. If I have something of value for people
to hear, my experience leads me to believe that they can't take
it in all at one sitting, and on numerous occasions I've had people
who have stopped and talked to me and maybe even went away angry
the first time, but they've come back later and said, "I
listened to what you said. I thought about it after I left, and
I want to hear some more." So I stay in one place, first,
as a symbolic effort to show dedication, commitment; secondly,
to be available if something that I say rings a chord in someone's
heart or mind and they want to come back and talk some more.
THE COURT: Well, I think that's an answer as to
why, what you've been doing the last ten years, or approximately
ten years, and the court understands that. The court doesn't think
you're crazy, and I hope you don't.
MR. THOMAS: I have my doubts about everything.
THE COURT: Well, I think every human being, we all
go through our lives from time to time and have doubts, a lot
of propositions and premises, but we have to keep going as long
as we're here.
I gather you don't really feel any remorse about this conviction
that's before the court today for sentencing.
MR. THOMAS: Well, this is one of the things that
I did address in my responses to the presentence report.
THE COURT: I know you did.
MR. THOMAS: I've contacted or I've tried to contact
Miss Robinson every day since I reviewed the report. She hasn't
been available, so up to this point I haven't had any opportunity
to try to get things straightened out with her. Nonetheless, I've
prepared brief answers to the presentence report, and remorsefulness
is one of the things that I did cover to some extent. You see,
the way I see it, I know what I'm there for, I know what my purpose
is. I know what my intent is, or I'm crazy, one or the other,
and assuming that my intent is true, then I'm not guilty of that.
So I can't feel, I can't feel any remorse.
You dismissed the charges, in the first place, on the grounds
of religious exercise. The government can't question me, they
can't question the sincerity of my belief. The Court of Appeals
allowed it. That's what's motivating me, my religious belief,
and there's nothing I can do. I have to do what I'm doing. So
I feel remorse, I feel remorse that it's very obvious to me that
you understood that motion. You cited the cases to support your
order. I feel remorse that we're in this position today. I feel
remorse because I think there is something wrong, and, although
I have my doubts, I don't strongly believe it's me that's wrong.
I sort of feel sorry for you, because you did what is right in
the first place, and it seems that you're caught in something
that's wound up making you do what seems to me to be wrong. I
mean, that's my belief. I believe your first
opinion was correct.
THE COURT: So do I, but, you know, Mr. Thomas, federal
trial judges are bound to uphold the laws of the United States,
and part of the laws of the United States, or an important part
of the laws of the United States are those handed down by the
United States Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme
Court. This court thought it rendered the decision under the facts
as then presented on your motion that was consistent with the
jurisprudence of the Supreme Court; however, there was an appeal,
and the Court of Appeals said that I erred and that you were wrong,
though I agreed with you. So this court is bound by that. I
have no other choice, and I hope you understand that.
MR. THOMAS: I understand.
THE COURT: They upheld, as you know, the validity
of the regulation, and after hearing the evidence fairly and impartially,
the court found, based on the evidence presented, that you were
in fact guilty of the charges placed against you at the time of
your arrest. It would probably do the court little good to say
it, but the fact is, Mr. Thomas, that we're not here to make the
law; we're here to apply the law and to do it fairly and in accordance
with the elements. So we've gotten beyond the point as to whether
it is constitutional or not, based on your religious belief, to
do what you were doing at the time of your arrest and what you've
been found guilty of. We're now at the point of whether you should
be punished by way of incarceration or some other means within
the discretion of the court to deal with your having been found
guilty. That's what we're here for today.
Now, if you want to tell me, I wish you would tell me now,
what facts material to the issue of sentence you wish to tell
me and have me consider in connection with passing sentence in
MR. THOMAS: I'm really not prepared outside of the
objections that I've put together to the presentence report.
The only fact I can tell you is all this paper that I've brought
in here that shows I havent been doing anything.
THE COURT: Shows you haven't done anything; what
do you mean?
MR. THOMAS: I beg your pardon. That
shows that I haven't been doing nothing. It shows that I've
been doing something. There's another passage in the presentence
report that says something like I have, I show great purpose and
direction and determination, but it seems like it's saying that
I show these things toward leading an unconventional lifestyle,
and I think those are the most damning things in the report, and
I don't think either of them is true, and I think that the paper
proves it. I've been trying to behave in a civilized manner and
I think that there's some questions
as to other, others are behaving
in an uncivilized manner, which, of course --
THE COURT: All right, Mr. Hunter and Ms. Best, let's
take this presentence investigation report, let's review it right
now, and give him a copy, if you will, please, except for the
All right, Mr. Thomas, the first sentence on page 2, well,
starting with page 1, that's obviously correct, isn't it?
MR. THOMAS: Yes.
THE COURT: All right. Paragraph one under the
prosecution version of this offense is also obviously correct,
is it not?
MR. THOMAS: I'm not sure about the red bag, but
THE COURT: I just asked you if the first paragraph
was obviously correct. That's true, is it not? On February 18,
1987, a one-count information was filed charging you, William
Thomas, with camping in Lafayette Park, in violation of Title
36, C.F.R., Section 7.96(i). That's true is it not?
MR. THOMAS: Yes.
THE COURT: All right, and there was an incident
on December 22, 1986, on the south sidewalk of Lafayette Park,
directly across from the White House. That first sentence is obviously correct, isn't it?
MR. THOMAS: Yes.
THE COURT: And you were arrested by the patrolman
on December 22, 1986.
MR. THOMAS: Actually, we were given a citation,
technically, but --
THE COURT: You call it a citation or arrest, whichever
MR. THOMAS: I'm sorry.
THE COURT: That's all right. How about the next
sentence? That's true, isn't it?
MR. THOMAS: Yes.
THE COURT: The third sentence, they were jointly
covered by --
MR. THOMAS: Yes.
THE COURT: That's correct, isn't it?
MR. THOMAS: (Pause) The next sentence I would disagree
THE COURT: All right.
MR. THOMAS: The police officer testified that Ellen
at all times --
THE COURT: You're talking about Ms. Thomas when
you say "Ellen"?
MR. THOMAS: Yes. -- at all times appeared to be
awake and conscious of what was going on.
THE COURT: All right, the court has made a finding
of fact in respect to that. In summation, the U. S. park officer
concluded that the defendants were camping, as defined, etc.,
such as sleeping, making preparation to sleep and storing personal
belongings. I gather, have you some quarrels with that?
MR. THOMAS: No, I can't speak for the police officer.
THE COURT: All right. How about the, there was no
MR. THOMAS: No plea agreement, that's correct.
THE COURT: All right. Under bail detention
adjustment, you don't have any quarrel with that, do you?
MR. THOMAS: No, that's fine. I guess I could go
to the problems that I have.
THE COURT: All right. Well, I want to know what
specifically is in this report that is material. Listen to me,
now, please. I want to know what specifically is in this report
that is material to sentencing that you say is incorrect or inaccurate.
That's what I'm here for this morning, and also to impose sentence.
MR. THOMAS: First of all, it misrepresents my work
THE COURT: Now, where? Direct me to the page and
the portion which you claim is inaccurate.
MR. THOMAS: He states that he previously worked
as a stone carver.
THE COURT: That page of the report is this?
MR. THOMAS: Page 7, last paragraph.
THE COURT: Is everything before page 7 correct?
MR. THOMAS: Not with respect to the history of the
THE COURT: Well, why don't we start from the beginning?
And then you tell me that's wrong with it and what's not wrong
MR. THOMAS: Well, because I think that the most
material things are the things that relate to this sentencing
THE COURT: All right, and I'll look at page 7. I'll
follow your preference. What is there that is incorrect, inaccurate,
that is material to sentencing?
MR. THOMAS: It states that he previously worked
as a stone carver in New Mexico and did odd jobs as needed during
THE COURT: Can you show me where that appears, sir?
MR. THOMAS: That's in the bottom paragraph of page
THE COURT: Is that incorrect?
MR. THOMAS: Yeah, it's incorrect.
THE COURT: You never were a stone carver?
MR. THOMAS: No, I was a stone carver but I owned
a jewelry manufacturing business.
THE COURT: Wait a minute, sir. Did you tell the
probation officer you were a stone carver in New Mexico?
MR. THOMAS: Among other things that aren't there.
THE COURT: Wait a minute. Did you tell them that?
MR. THOMAS: Yes, I did.
THE COURT: Did you tell them you did odd jobs to
MR. THOMAS: I don't think I ever said I did odd
jobs; I think I said I've held a number of different jobs.
THE COURT: In order to support yourself during your
MR. THOMAS: No, I mean, for example, I drove a semi
for two years. I told her that. That's not in there. I worked
as a carpenter. That's my profession. That's not in here. I've
worked at different jobs for considerable periods of times. That's
not in there. So I think that makes it look like, I don't think
that makes me appear as, you know.
THE COURT: As what?
MR. THOMAS: Maybe directed, well, directed as I
should, and then it talks about, it just says --
THE COURT: Well, if you have a quarrel with that
sentence in the sense that it makes you appear misdirected or
undirected, having failed to live a structured life, as many people
MR. THOMAS: That's it, having failed to lead a structured
THE COURT: -- I will take your version of that,
that element of the presentence report. Now, what else do you
claim is inaccurate that is material to the matter of sentencing
here this morning in the presentence investigation report before
MR. THOMAS: Well, the last paragraph. I think, is
THE COURT: Page what?
MR. THOMAS: Page 8.
THE COURT: Very well.
MR. THOMAS: That's what disturbs me the most, I
THE COURT: Well did you tell the probation officer
that you would like to avoid further involvement with the court?
MR. THOMAS: Well, I showed her --
THE COURT: My question is: Did you tell her?
MR. THOMAS: Yes, I did.
THE COURT: All right, then that's accurate, isn't
MR. THOMAS: That is accurate.
THE COURT: All right. What other part of the last
paragraph on page 8 is incorrect, that is material -- wait a minute.
MR. THOMAS: Well --
THE COURT: -- that is material to sentencing today?
MR. THOMAS: The second sentence, despite this claim,
he has done little to prevent his rearrest. That is totally inaccurate.
THE COURT: In what respect?
MR. THOMAS: In the respect that I have been working
to the best of my ability in this court system to find out how
I can do what I'm doing without running afoul of these regulations.
THE COURT: All right, sir. I'll accept your version
of that. Now, go ahead. What else is incorrect with respect
to that last paragraph?
MR. THOMAS: Aside from that, nothing.
THE COURT: All right. Now taking the report as a
whole, what else do you claim to be inaccurate that is material
to the court's responsibility with respect to sentencing?
MR. THOMAS: Well, it depends on how much weight
you're going to put on my previous history.
THE COURT: You tell me what is incorrect that is
material to sentencing in the PSI report here today. You can look
at it, any portion, because that's what I want you to tell me.
This is your opportunity.
MR. THOMAS: For one thing, it doesn't accurately
reflect the amount of time that I've spent in jail.
THE COURT: How much time have you spent in jail?
MR. THOMAS: About seven-and-a-half years, and that
THE COURT: And what does it say? How much time does
MR. THOMAS: Well, in one place, where I did three
years, it says I did 58 days. I haven't counted up what it says,
THE COURT: All told, you've spent about seven-and-a-half
years in jail over your life?
MR. THOMAS: That's true.
THE COURT: All right. What else?
MR. THOMAS: Well, I'm not going to nit-pick.
THE COURT: You what?
MR. THOMAS: I'm not going to nit-pick it like this;
I'll just give you what I've got here.
THE COURT: Well, this is a very important matter,
Mr. Thomas, and don't consider it nit-picking. If you think there's
something material in here that the court should take into account
and consider in connection with passing sentence, I really want
to know. You've been before me before. You know I take this job
MR. THOMAS: Well, all I can say about the history
is what I've said. I was somebody at one time and then I became
somebody else. I altered my behavior a lot. It's missing one arrest
that I had in Egypt, where I spent a year in jail for that, and
since then, well, one thing that bothers me, I guess, is because
it's material to my life, anyway. There's a charge in here for
possession of, well, it doesn't say possession; it just says cocaine
in 1974. It's on page 3, in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, that
was the day that my life really changed. It wasn't - I was arrested
on that day, but it wasn't for cocaine.
THE COURT: Wait just a moment. let me find it on
MR. THOMAS: It's (pause)
THE COURT: Oh, July 24, 1974?
MR. THOMAS: Yeah, July 24, '74.
THE COURT: What were you arrested for?
MR. THOMAS: Indecent exposure.
THE COURT: Not possession of cocaine.
MR. THOMAS: No.
THE COURT: All right.
MR. THOMAS: And when they arrested me, I didn't
have a stitch of clothes on me. What had happened was, I'd been
confused all through my life. At that point, I had been married
and I owned my own business, and I was stable in this for four
years of that time, and I was in L.A. selling jewelry, and all
of a sudden it was like I got hit by a bolt out of the blue, and
two thoughts came into my mind. The first was that, in order to
be free, you must possess nothing; and, secondly, that a question,
is time life or is time money? I don't know how much sense that
makes to you, but that's the clearest I can articulate this idea
that came into my head. When that happened, I took all of my money
out of my pocket and then I threw my watch away and I threw all
my clothes away, because it's strange, but --
THE COURT: Well, at that time, you had a family
back in New Mexico, did you not?
MR. THOMAS: Yeah, I did.
THE COURT: And I recall that part of your background
from some of the papers in connection with the pretrial proceedings
we had, you had a family in New Mexico at that time. This took
place in a parking lot, if I recall correctly, did it not?
MR. THOMAS: This, yes.
THE COURT: This July 24, 1974, incident.
MR. THOMAS: Yes.
THE COURT: What was your business at the time?
MR. THOMAS: I owned a jewelry manufacturing business.
THE COURT: Pretty successful business, wasn't it?
MR. THOMAS: Yeah, it was doing pretty well.
THE COURT: Have you ever seen your wife and children
again since that day?
MR. THOMAS: Yes, yes. After that, I went back and
I lived there for a year before I decided to walk across North
Africa, and that was still on the same line. I went back to living
the same type of life, but the experience really affected me,
and I started wondering about the fundamental constructs of human
civilization, and I was, I had to find out whether or not it was
possible to live without money, so that's why I walked across
North Africa without money. And in that walk, before that, I had
done a lot of things in my life, and I thought I knew quite a
bit, but that walk really
changed my life a lot. It showed me I didn't know anything,
and it also showed me that there was a lot of suffering in the
world, and it gave me a great appreciation for the earth and for
humanity, and so that's what I've been doing ever since.
THE COURT: Is there (pause) --
MR. THOMAS: But (pause) --
THE COURT: "But"?
MR. THOMAS: But then, from there, we go onto these
new sheaves of arrests that I have for demonstrating. There are
a number of charges here that were all dismissed for alleged assaults
on police officers, and they're nonsense. In actuality, I was
assaulted and got charged, and then the charges were dismissed.
But I think that it's very notable again with respect to the allegation
that I have been doing nothing to try to avoid rearrest. If you
look from 1981, on page 4, up through page 6, down to 10/10/84,
you notice there, I think there are 16 arrests listed here. I
know that there were at least another six, and none of the other
six resulted in any convictions. So, by my reckoning, that was,
those are nine, so, but the last arrest on page 6 is for 10/10/84.
On 10/21/84, I filed the civil lawsuit, pursuant to Judge Oberdorfer's
suggestion. Then, there are no more arrests, except for one of
these simple assaults, and then
another one. I have a picture of that assault, actually the
second one, and I think that, if you would look at the picture,
you would yet a clear idea that I'm not doing the assaulting,
and then this camping charge.
So, in my opinion, since 1984, I havent really been
arrested, except for this charge here, and I think that that's
the best argument that I can make that, because it seems, the
report seems to give the bottom-line impression that, although
I say I'm doing this, I'm not doing it, and the court's got to
punish me, but that's not my impression at all. I think that I
have been trying to avoid being rearrested, and I think I've done
a good job. Thank you.
THE COURT: Wait just a minute. Thank you for waiting.
I'm just making a note of what you said, Because I think it will
be helpful. Is there anything else that you claim to be inaccurate
in the report?
MR. THOMAS: Like I say, Your Honor, there's a lot
of little things in the history that are inaccurate, but --
THE COURT: They're not material to sentencing?
MR. THOMAS: I don't think they're material to sentencing,
I think that you're not going to hold against me what I did when
I was 21, and if you are, I understand.
THE COURT: Are there any offenses listed here that
were not in fact correct, except the one?
MR. THOMAS: Yeah, there's another one for DUI and
no license in Albuquerque.
THE COURT: That's incorrect?
MR. THOMAS: That never happened at all.
THE COURT: The court will disregard that in connection
with the exercise of its sentencing responsibilities. Anything
MR. THOMAS: No, nothing that I want to get specific
THE COURT: Pardon?
MR. THOMAS: There are other things, but I'll --
THE COURT: But this is an important matter, Mr.
MR. THOMAS: Well, I don't know that it's, excuse
me but I don't know that it's really material. I think that I
would just be giving you stories about extenuating circumstances
of different things and adding in things that they left out, mostly.
Everything, they left out a lot of things. All the things they
left out were charges that were dismissed, basically. I think
THE COURT: Well, I wouldn't consider those, anyhow,
sir. So you can't hold that against Miss Robinson.
MR. THOMAS: No, I can't, but from my point of view,
I think in terms of it's not me who's doing this; it's the other
side that's doing this. I'm trying to be good. That's how I see
it. I may be wrong. So I think if I have a record with a whole
bunch of arrests and only a small percentage of convictions, that's
something in my favor. That's the way I look at it.
THE COURT: Well, I think that's correct. I think
that's correct, but the convictions you did have, which were not
set aside and which were validly rendered, did result in seven-and-a-half
years of time you have spent in your 40-odd years on this earth
MR. THOMAS: That's right, and I think that, first,
I think that whatever I did wrong, by virtue of the fact that
I did that time in prison, I paid for it; and, secondly, while
the report notes my drug history, and I would like to note that
being in jail isn't what cured me. I only overcame drug abuse
by myself. Putting me in jail didn't do it, but I personally,
I feel like society and I are about even. I did some stupid things
when I was 16, 21 years old. I think I paid for it.
THE COURT: Let me go back. Well, you were born in
MR. THOMAS: That's true.
THE COURT: Outside the City of New York, in
MR. THOMAS: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: You are 40 years of age.
MR. THOMAS: Yes.
THE COURT: And you are presently married to Ms.
MR. THOMAS: Thomas," thats correct.
THE COURT: And I take it there are no children of
MR. THOMAS: No.
THE COURT: What about your other children, sir?
Are they being cared for by you now?
MR. THOMAS: My first wife, I had children by a previous
marriage. Their father died and left them considerable trust funds.
The youngest one died of leukemia. The oldest one is financially
THE COURT: All right.
MR. THOMAS: And I'd also like to say that when I
left my wife to walk across North Africa, I left her a lot of
money. I didn't owe anybody anything. There was money in the bank
and there was big inventory in the business that was free and
clear, and I did return to her afterwards, but our perceptions
of reality had grown so far apart that we just decided to go separate
THE COURT: All right, sir. Anything else that you
would like to tell the court before it imposes sentence?
MR. THOMAS: No.
THE COURT: I think you've been very articulate.
MR. THOMAS: I think you've been very patient.
THE COURT: Well, thank you, Mr. Thomas. Nobody likes
to, with very, very few exceptions, I've never known a judge,
and I've known lots of them, as you can imagine, by this time,
who enjoys the responsibility and the duty of imposing sentence.
In any case, when that time comes, it's just not an enjoyable
function or experience, but that's the way our government is structured,
and it's fallen upon the lot of judges to do that.
Now, if you'll just stand aside by the lectern there, since
you have nothing further to say or advise the court of with respect
to any material inaccuracies in the presentence investigation
report, I'll ask the government if they have anything they want
to say, and you can stand right here beside the lectern, please,
and I'll hear from the Assistant United States Attorney, and you
tell me if there's anything, after he finishes, that is incorrect.
MR. THOMAS: All right.