UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Concepcion Picciotto, et. al. )
v. ) Civil Action No. 87-3290-LFO
Donald Hodel, et. al. )
At a hearing on December 7, 1987, on plaintiffs' application
for a temporary restraining order, two of the plaintiffs made
arguments and statements. Defendants presented the testimony of
Steven J. Harrison of the U.S. Secret Service and Robert O. Langston
of the U.S. Park Police. They testified, among other things, that
in their opinion removal of the public from the South End of Lafayette
Park was required as a security measure during visits by Mikhail
Gorbachev to the White House. They, as well as the Assistant United
States Attorney, represented that the defendants could and would
instruct the officers in the vacated area of Lafayette Park to
use their best efforts to protect the signs maintained by plaintiffs
throughout the periods during which plaintiffs are removed from
the signs' vicinity. Plaintiffs themselves undertook peaceably
to remove any possessions or paraphernalia of theirs, other than
the stationary signs, from the restricted area when requested
to do so by the U.S. Park Police during the period of the notice.
Accordingly, in reliance on defendants representations,
and recognizing the authority granted to defendants by 18 U.S.C.
section 3056(a)(5) as well as 36 C.F.R. section 1.5, the Court
denied the application for a temporary restraining order from
the bench (a transcript of that order is attached.
Date: December 9, 1987
(signed) Louis F. Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
(EXCERPT FROM TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS ON DECEMBER 7, 1987,
IN WILLIAM THOMAS, ET AL., VERSUS DONALD HODEL, ET AL., CIVIL
THE COURT: MR. THOMAS, WILL YOU COME TO THE PODIUM AGAIN,
YOU ARE RIDING BEHIND THE BLOCKING BACK OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT
FOR ALL OF THESE YEARS. YOU ARE NOT IN RED SQUARE. YOU ARE IN
LAFAYETTE SQUARE. YOU ARE IN UNDER, AND YOU ARE PROTECTED BY,
OUR CONSTITUTION AND BY THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND BY THIS COURT.
YOU HAVE HAD ENORMOUS PROTECTION, AND YOU ARE GETTING IT TODAY.
YOU HAVE THE CHIEF OF THE SECRET SERVICE DETAIL, THE CHIEF
OF THE PARK POLICE, THREE LAWYERS, A COURT, AND A STAFF IN HERE
WORRYING AND BEING CONCERNED ABOUT -- AND NOT IMPROPERLY -- YOUR
FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS. AND THEY ARE BEING PROTECTED IN THE MOST
EXQUISITE WAY THAT I CAN CONTRIVE.
NOW I HAVE A REPRESENTATION FROM THE GOVERNMENT THAT THE OFFICERS
IN LAFAYETTE PARK IN THE VICINITY WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN, AND WHERE
YOUR SIGNS ARE, WILL MAKE THEIR BEST EFFORTS TO SEE THAT THEY
ARE PRESERVED INTACT. THAT IS NOT A GUARANTEE. THIS IS IMPORTANT,
BUT THAT IS NOT THE ONLY THING THEY HAVE TO DO, AND THAT IS NOT
THEIR PRIMARY MISSION, BUT THEY ARE GOING TO TRY.
IT REQUIRES YOU TO MAKE THE SAME KIND OF GOOD-FAITH EFFORT TO
COMPLY WITH THIS NOTICE. THAT IS, THEY HAVE ASKED
YOU TO TAKE YOUR OTHER BELONGINGS OUT OF THERE, AND IT WOULD
BE ENTIRELY INAPPROPRIATE, IN LIGHT OF WHAT IS GOING ON HERE,
FOR YOU TO QUIBBLE ABOUT THAT.
WHEN THEY ASK YOU TO MOVE, YOU OUGHT TO MOVE EVERY LOCK,
STOCK, AND BARREL, EXCEPT THE SIGNS. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
MR. THOMAS: THAT IS NO PROBLEM.
THE COURT: AND YOU SHOULD MOVE WHEN THEY ASK YOU TO MOVE,
AND DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEM, JUST MOVE.
MR. THOMAS: I'M DOING MY ARGUING HERE.
THE COURT: I UNDERSTAND THAT. THAT IS WHY I AM MAKING THE
TIME AVAILABLE TO YOU NOW, SO YOU CAN WORK THAT OUT. IN RELIANCE
ON THE REPRESENTATION BY THE UNITED STATES AND ON BEHALF OF THE
PARK POLICE AND THE SECRET SERVICE THAT THE OFFICERS ON THE SCENE
IN LAFAYETTE PARK WILL BE INSTRUCTED TO USE THEIR BEST EFFORTS
TO SAFEGUARD YOUR SIGNS, I AM DENYING YOUR APPLICATION FOR A TEMPORARY
AND THAT IS JUST THE SIGNS OF THE INDIVIDUAL PLAINTIFFS:
I CAN'T TAKE CARE OF OTHER PEOPLE. THIS IS NOT A CLASS ACTION.
IF THE PARK POLICE WANT TO TAKE CARE OF THEM, THEY CAN. THEY ARE
NOT OBLIGATED TO ME TO DO IT.
AND IT IS ALSO MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE WILL BE PLANNING
ABOUT WHEN YOU HAVE TO MOVE SO THAT IT IS NOT ABRUPT.
MR. THOMAS: AS I STATED AT THE BEGINNING, THERE WERE SOME
THE COURT: I UNDERSTAND THAT.
MR. THOMAS: (CONTINUING) -- WHO ARE INTERESTED.
THE COURT: MY JURISDICTION IS LIMITED TO CASES AND CONTROVERSIES,
AND I CAN ONLY PROTECT THE PLAINTIFFS BEFORE ME.
MR. THOMAS: WELL, SOME OF THE INDIVIDUALS ARE HERE IN COURT.
THE COURT: THEY MAY BE, BUT THEY ARE NOT IN COURT ON PAPER.
MAYBE YOU CAN WORK THAT OUT WITH WHOEVER THE SECRET SERVICE DETAIL
OR THE PARK POLICE DETAIL IS, TO DEAL WITH YOU ON THIS.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?
MR. THOMAS: I APPRECIATE THE PROCESS THAT HAS GONE ON IN
THE COURT, BUT I WOULD POINT OUT THAT IT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN NECESSARY,
IF I HAD RECEIVED THE NOTICE PRIOR TO--
THE COURT: I AM SORRY ABOUT THAT. I AM REALLY NOT SORRY
ABOUT IT. I THINK THAT THIS HAS BEEN A GOOD EXERCISE, AND I EXPECT
IT TO BE HANDLED IN A CORRECT WAY.
MR. THOMAS: THANK YOU.
MR. MARTINEZ: THANK YOU, YOUR HONOR.
(WHEREUPON, AT 5:35 O'CLOCK P.M., THE COURT ADJOURNED THE HEARING.)