vs.                     CR 87-0062(CRR)


January 28, 1988 - 9:30 a.m.
U. S. Courthouse, Washington, D. C.




Mark Dubester, Esq.
Assistant U. S. Attorney


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.


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 wasn't sure.

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 from you.

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. I


had to wait for it to be prepared.

THE COURT: Miss Best, when was it finished?


THE COURT: That's the 22nd of January?


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 true?

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 other questions?


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 it.

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.

The reason 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, even


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 this case.

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 haven’t 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 last page.

All right, Mr. Thomas, the first sentence on page 2, well, starting with page 1, that's obviously correct, isn't it?


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?


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?


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 you choose.

MR. THOMAS: I'm sorry.

THE COURT: That's all right. How about the next sentence? That's true, isn't it?



THE COURT: The third sentence, they were jointly covered by --


THE COURT: That's correct, isn't it?

MR. THOMAS: (Pause) The next sentence I would disagree with.

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 plea agreement?

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 history.

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 with It.

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 his travels.

THE COURT: Can you show me where that appears, sir?

MR. THOMAS: That's in the bottom paragraph of page 7.

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 support yourself?

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 do --

MR. THOMAS: That's it, having failed to lead a structured life.

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 me now?

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 think.

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 it?

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 was --

THE COURT: And what does it say? How much time does it say?

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, but --

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 seriously.

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 page 3.


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.


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.


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) --


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 haven’t 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 else, sir?

MR. THOMAS: No, nothing that I want to get specific on.

THE COURT: Pardon?

MR. THOMAS: There are other things, but I'll -- just wait.

THE COURT: But this is an important matter, Mr. Thomas.

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 that's that.

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 in prison.

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 New York

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.


THE COURT: And you are presently married to Ms. Ellen --

MR. THOMAS: Thomas," that’s correct.

THE COURT: And I take it there are no children of that union.


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 very well-off.

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 ways.

THE COURT: All right, sir. Anything else that you


would like to tell the court before it imposes sentence?


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.

MR. DUBESTER: Thank you, Your Honor. I would like to make only two points, and I would like to make them, and I'll make them briefly. The first is that we submit that probation is essentially not an option


for Mr. Thomas. In a way, it's just not fair to the Probation Department. They don’t want him. They feel they can't supervise him. Their perception that Mr. Thomas is unsupervisable and not a good probationer is reflected and is woven into the report.

Mr. Thomas says he is making efforts to avoid rearrest. We do take some quarrel with that. Mr. Thomas has chosen a lifestyle which inevitably will cause him to be rearrested. His approach to his vigil is to walk as close to the line as possible, and when he does that, he's bound to cross it. He'll cross it in the way the evidence in this case showed he crossed it, by sleeping and camping on sleeping bags and under sleeping bag bags. He'll cross it by storing property. He'll cross it by violating rules about the sizes of signs. He'll cross it by doing other things to park property. He'll cross it by certain of his protesting activities which cross the line from the lawful to the unlawful, and in every single area, Mr. Thomas has chosen to walk as close to the line as possible.

And in this sense, when the Probation Department says that the man has done nothing to avoid rearrest, we agree that that's a pretty fair perception. He has chosen to confront the rules, confront the regulations, and to adopt a lifestyle which will cause him to be rearrested, and the Probation Department's suggestion that that is what he has


done, we submit, is accurate. Mr. Thomas continually protests. He doesn't understand the rules and just wants to know what he is allowed to do and what's not allowed to do. We submit that these regulations could not be more lucid. They are absolutely clear that the camping activity that Mr. Thomas' was involved in -- the use of bedding material, the falling asleep at night under the pillow, under the blankets -- there's no question that that was crossing the line.

It may be that there is some gray area inherent in every criminal statute. Hopefully, it's not a big, broad, amorphous one, because then there will be problems, but right on the fringes there may be a touch of an area which Mr. Thomas wants to stick his foot over the line a bit and wonder if he's going to be arrested or not. That's not what's involved in this case, and that's not involved in the vast thrust of the arrests for which Mr. Thomas has been arrested for. Mr. Thomas could easily choose to comport with what are the clear thrusts of lawful behavior, but he doesn't want that; he wants to walk as close to all the lines as possible and in that sense it is inevitable that he be arrested.

I believe Mr. Thomas indicated that he has not really been arrested since 1984. It’s my understanding that right now Judge Flannery is waiting to rule on a motion by Mr. Thomas, after a trial, another camping trial, which happened


March of '87, subsequent to the facts of Your Honor's case, and that was a citation case for the same conduct which occurred either in March or April of 1987, and that Judge Flannery, I think, is still waiting to rule. That was a trial that occurred the day before the trial in front of you. You may recall there was some scheduling problems at that point because Mr. Thomas had another case the very prior day. In fact, you were waiting for Mr. Thomas to complete his trial before Judge Flannery before we started up your trial.

THE COURT: The court remembers it.

MR. DuBESTER: So it's not totally fair to say that. So, even after December, 1986, when he was arrested in this case before Your Honor, Mr. Thomas was arrested March, 1987, again, for camping, again, for the same offense, that was over a period of several days.

In short, Your Honor, Mr. Thomas has, we submit, shows a relatively callous regard for the thrust of the criminal laws as they exist to define what is lawful behavior in and around the White House. This is an interest, this is a concern, of great importance to the United States. People come to Washington, D.C., every single day. They are entitled to enjoy Lafayette Park. They're entitled to enjoy the area in front of the White House.

We do not begrudge the right of people to exercise


their rights of expression at all. That is inherent in this country, but not, but there are areas where these rights of expression can be regulated and limited, so long as the fundamental rights are not impinged upon, and that involves the right of everybody to enjoy, the right to enjoy Lafayette Park. And Mr. Thomas has proven time and time again, continually, that he does not respect this right of other people, and continually he impinges on these rights of other people because of his world view, and time and time again he gets involved in the law because of it. This is just another example.

Probation has thrown up their hands and said they don't want him, and we feel, in light of this continual conduct, that there is really only one action left for you, and that would be to sentence Mr. Thomas to a period of incarceration.

Thank you.

THE COURT: All right, Mr. Thomas, do you wish to respond to what the prosecutor has just said to the court?

MR. THOMAS: I think that, first, the probation report clearly reflects that every time I've been on probation, I have been a model probationer. If the Probation Office doesn't want to supervise me, I'm not sure why, but there is nothing in that report except that I finished all my probation correctly and I reported regularly.


I thought that we were just talking about the history up until this arrest. It's true, there was another arrest that happened after this one, but between 1984, November, and this arrest and the other arrest, there was nothing that I was doing except my signs were smaller and there were less things around, that I hadn't been doing since 1984.

I think that the government has the wrong idea. I want to communicate, and I want to communicate as effectively as I can. The prerequisite for communicating is to attract attention. I think that's obvious. There hasn't been -- Mr. DuBester mentioned sign-size regulations. There hasn't been any question about sign-size regulations or any outside signs or illegal signs since, I think, 1983.

The rights of the people, I'm not sure what he's talking about. The rights of the people, when he says that I have a right to be there, I think that basically the only thing that -- I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I mean, maybe I'm ugly, but that's the only thing that I can see is wrong, and if the people of the United States have the right to be protected from people who are ugly, then I guess it's your responsibility to put me in jail, or something.

I would suggest that Your Honor give me community service and allow me to continue to perform the service that I really believe that I'm performing for this country.

THE COURT: What would you like to continue to do in



the way of community service?

MR. THOMAS: I would like to do what I'm doing. In addition to compiling all this paper, I work with people who don't have any houses and who need counseling, don't have anywhere to go. I try to (pause) -- the main thing I do, of course, and I think the biggest service that I provide for the community, is to make people question or attempt to make people question or search for alternatives to what we presently have. I want to make very clear, I think that social change is inevitable, and I'm opposed to the idea of -- there's only two ways that I think it comes about, either through violence or through reason and logic, communication. I think there's something wrong in the world, and I'm trying to bring about a change through reason and logic. I think that's the biggest community service that I'm doing, and I think that that's community service that I would like to continue with.

THE COURT: All right. Anything else?


THE COURT: You may be seated.

Call the case of Miss Thomas.

THE CLERK: Criminal Action 87-0064, United States of America vs. Ellen Thomas.

THE COURT: Wait just a moment, Mr. Thomas. Be seated and remain seated at your table, please, sir.


Excuse me just a minute.

Ms. Thomas, do you have a lawyer here today?

MS. THOMAS: Yes, sir, I do.

THE COURT: All right. Perhaps your counsel should come forward, too. I apologize to you, ma'am. Do you want to swear the witness please?

MS. THOMAS: I affirm, yes.

THE COURT: All right. Counsel, do you wish to say anything before the court proceeds with sentencing?

Transcript Continued

Case Listing --- Proposition One ---- Peace Park