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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-25-09 06:37 PM
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12. United States of America v. William Thomas
United States of America v. William Thomas, Appellant
United States of America v. Ellen Thomas, Appellant
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. - 864 F.2d 188
Argued Nov. 8, 1988
Decided Dec. 30, 1988

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Criminal Action Nos. 87-00231-01 and 02) ...

Like the now-legendary "sleeping in the park" case, Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence, 468 U.S. 288, 104 S.Ct. 3065, 82 L.Ed.2d 221 (1984), the case before us involves individuals who are seeking by their continuing presence in the park to convey and communicate their sincerely held views about what they perceive to be the most elemental social ills. Two individuals, husband and wife, stand convicted for violation of the applicable Park Service regulations which forbid "camping" in areas including Lafayette Park ...

Park Police Officer Richard DeRiso testified that at approximately 6:00 a.m. on March 22, he observed the Thomases lying in sleeping bags and on blankets, surrounded by clothes. The officer saw no activity and heard sounds that to him resembled snoring. He woke the Thomases, told them that they were violating the camping regulation, and cited them for the violation ...

William Thomas states that his "main, practical purpose is a symbolic purpose to my being , but practically my purpose is that I can be available at all times for clarification of actual reality." (Tr. 252). William Thomas testified that he spent most of his time from March 21 to 26 in the Park, leaving to go to a court appearance and twice to go to the nearby apartment. (Tr. 238). Although both use the apartment for tasks such as cooking, cleaning clothes, using the telephone, and writing, neither testified to sleeping (except inadvertently) or spending significant amounts of time there. William Thomas claimed that "the object of my life is to live without accommodations, and to me <the apartment> is a compromise" ...

Once we conclude, as we have, that the regulation provided fair notice to the Thomases and sufficiently delimited the discretion conferred upon enforcement officers, we are left, then, only with the puzzle of why the Thomases sought to discern the scope of the regulation yet repeatedly ran afoul of it. Without that puzzle, this case would have presented an easier question, and a shorter opinion. The record suggests that the Thomases have always believed that they have not over the years engaged in camping, in some Platonic or Eagle Scouts sense, and that they have in accord with their deeply held religious beliefs given up all accommodations. Therefore, as counsel put it at oral argument, the Thomases view themselves as having, in effect, no living accommodations. Nonetheless, the regulation and its enforcement, as applied to the Thomases, fairly and clearly told them the contrary; it therefore readily passes constitutional muster in its application to them. The Thomases persisted in effectuating their belief, which at day's end amounts to disagreement with the clear import of the regulation as indicated by its language, its enforcement, its interpretation by the district court, and now our reading. It may be unfortunate that the Thomases' deeply felt convictions have led them to persistent behavior running afoul of the clear import of the regulation. That disagreement, in the face of various warnings, perhaps reflects courage, conscience, or tragedy. It manifestly does not reflect, in the regulation as it has been applied, vagueness of constitutional dimension ... /

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  -William Thomas Dies After 27 Years in Front of the White House TorchesAndPitchforks  Jan-25-09 05:50 PM   #0 
  - Is this the guy looking for reason and sanity that was always out front of the WH?  Captain Hilts   Jan-25-09 05:51 PM   #1 
  - Yes - I found a site with a bit more info on him:  slay   Jan-25-09 06:19 PM   #8 
  - Thank you for the link. Everyone should take a few minutes in his memory  chill_wind   Jan-25-09 07:03 PM   #15 
  - a hero. they are there. RIP, good man.  roguevalley   Jan-26-09 03:47 PM   #75 
  - Wow! Talk about dedication!  GreenPartyVoter   Jan-25-09 05:53 PM   #2 
  - RIP, William.  cliffordu   Jan-25-09 05:54 PM   #3 
  - A silent, unknown hero.  liberalmuse   Jan-25-09 05:54 PM   #4 
  - Thanks for your leadership William Thomas. RIP  patrice   Jan-25-09 05:55 PM   #5 
  - I saw him and spoke to him in Jan. 1992.  John Q. Citizen   Jan-25-09 05:56 PM   #6 
  - Wow. Seems like he was a cool, principled dude  slay   Jan-25-09 06:15 PM   #7 
  - RIP  marchellojones   Jan-25-09 06:22 PM   #9 
  - Webpage on Concepcion Picciotto has lots of historical material:  struggle4progress   Jan-25-09 06:24 PM   #10 
  - Now this guy really walked the walk. I admire and am so jealous of  acmavm   Jan-25-09 06:33 PM   #11 
  - United States of America v. William Thomas  struggle4progress   Jan-25-09 06:37 PM   #12 
  - I would love to see a bronze statue of Thomas  EmeraldCityGrl   Jan-25-09 11:56 PM   #33 
  - should be made out of dismanteled nuclear weapons  mikelgb   Jan-26-09 09:23 AM   #51 
  - What happened to the WIFE? Anyone know? NT  MADem   Jan-26-09 11:06 AM   #58 
     - full article actually says he is survived by her  mikelgb   Jan-26-09 12:31 PM   #64 
     - DUH....I didn't take note of the "MORE" and thought the small blurb was it. Thank you. NT  MADem   Jan-26-09 12:36 PM   #65 
        - i missed it at first too  mikelgb   Jan-26-09 12:40 PM   #66 
     - She's still listed as a board member of the Washington Peace Center  struggle4progress   Jan-27-09 12:52 PM   #81 
  - R.I.P William. n/t  Joe the Liberal   Jan-25-09 06:38 PM   #13 
  - Rest in peace, Mr. Thomas.  Maat   Jan-25-09 06:41 PM   #14 
  - "A Quarter of A Century at The Whitehouse Gates" (Ellen Thomas, 2006)  chill_wind   Jan-25-09 07:19 PM   #16 
  - Thomas speaking out in 2007- youtube. (link)  chill_wind   Jan-25-09 08:23 PM   #17 
     - Cool - thank you so much for posting it - Very cool to see him and hear his words  slay   Jan-25-09 09:33 PM   #24 
  - Rest in Peace and thank you  merh   Jan-25-09 08:24 PM   #18 
  - I remember seeing this guy 10 years ago.  Seen the light   Jan-25-09 08:29 PM   #19 
  - RIP Thomas  arcadian   Jan-25-09 08:38 PM   #20 
  - Wish I could have spoken to him and told him how much  OwnedByFerrets   Jan-25-09 08:41 PM   #21 
  - A good man.  Artiechoke   Jan-25-09 08:43 PM   #22 
  - I met him twice-wonderful person!  norepubsin08   Jan-25-09 09:16 PM   #23 
  - I met him last April. Also there is a lady that stays there too  greenbriar   Jan-25-09 09:36 PM   #25 
  - Rest in peace William  UndertheOcean   Jan-25-09 09:37 PM   #26 
  - How old was he? What was the cause of death? eom  Mind_your_head   Jan-25-09 09:38 PM   #27 
  - We talk about the unendurably "long last 8 years" of our lives...  chill_wind   Jan-25-09 10:58 PM   #28 
  - RIP  proud2Blib   Jan-25-09 11:03 PM   #29 
  - Rest in Peace, my good man. n/t  tuckessee   Jan-25-09 11:09 PM   #30 
  - wow  bluesmail   Jan-25-09 11:27 PM   #31 
  - RIP and safe journey, William  Sultana   Jan-25-09 11:45 PM   #32 
  - All well and good, but you have a Henry Wallace icon/avatar (whatever it's called) --  smalll   Jan-26-09 12:04 AM   #34 
  - So fucking what if it is?  RandomKoolzip   Jan-26-09 12:36 AM   #35 
  - "Your inner Roy Cohn"  Commie Pinko Dirtbag   Jan-26-09 06:50 AM   #43 
  - ? Wiki says Wallace ran in 1948 as the nominee of the Progressive Party. What's your problem?  Hekate   Jan-26-09 12:52 AM   #36 
  - WTF ?  jeff30997   Jan-26-09 01:43 AM   #38 
  - My thoughts EXACTLY  slay   Jan-26-09 01:51 AM   #40 
  - Cause this capitalism shit is working out sooo well right?  slay   Jan-26-09 01:50 AM   #39 
  - Path not taken  TorchesAndPitchforks   Jan-26-09 07:25 AM   #44 
  - In what respect, Charlie?  RadiationTherapy   Jan-26-09 09:38 AM   #52 
  - So what's your point?  ProudToBeBlueInRhody   Jan-26-09 11:54 AM   #61 
  - Stay classy, Senator McCarthy.  ebdarcy   Jan-26-09 12:48 PM   #67 
     - How about this (for all the responders to my post) -- Henry Wallace was the Ralph Nader of '48.  smalll   Jan-26-09 01:27 PM   #70 
  - RIP Thomas, and thanks for your service as conscience to DC. nt  Hekate   Jan-26-09 12:53 AM   #37 
  - Gone to Heaven - Free At Last of the Republicans  NBachers   Jan-26-09 03:05 AM   #41 
  - Indeed bro  slay   Jan-26-09 03:13 AM   #42 
  - Damn...  Rebubula   Jan-26-09 07:28 AM   #45 
  - RIP Mr. Thomas  bdamomma   Jan-26-09 07:32 AM   #46 
  - And they say there are no more heros in America.  Le Taz Hot   Jan-26-09 07:34 AM   #47 
  - Sorry to see him go.  sofa king   Jan-26-09 08:07 AM   #48 
  - RIP.  peekaloo   Jan-26-09 08:24 AM   #49 
  - I met him on my first trip to DC..... RIP  mikelgb   Jan-26-09 09:18 AM   #50 
  - Wow great pic  slay   Jan-26-09 07:51 PM   #80 
  - !!!  Lilith Velkor   Jan-26-09 09:48 AM   #53 
  - Could President Obama give him a posthumous medal of freedom?  yellowcanine   Jan-26-09 09:54 AM   #54 
  - wow... i didn't know about William Thomas... hear, hear.  Piewhacket   Jan-26-09 10:16 AM   #55 
  - Sleep well, brave soul  Prophet 451   Jan-26-09 10:31 AM   #56 
  - wow...i recognized him instantly  Blue_Tires   Jan-26-09 10:58 AM   #57 
  - There are far too few William Thomas's around. A modern day saint for sure.  The_Casual_Observer   Jan-26-09 11:30 AM   #59 
  - Thomas was real!  1776Forever   Jan-26-09 11:46 AM   #60 
  - Dude protested peacefully through TWENTY years of Republican presidents  Divine Discontent   Jan-26-09 01:57 PM   #71 
  - Wow!  Time for change   Jan-26-09 11:59 AM   #62 
  - I met him when I was there. There was a woman too. Is she still there?  lonestarnot   Jan-26-09 12:02 PM   #63 
  - Peace to him and his loved ones.  ebdarcy   Jan-26-09 12:50 PM   #68 
  - An old hippie that didn't quit  Gman   Jan-26-09 01:04 PM   #69 
  - was his wife that lady in Fahrenheit 9/11? seemed like she'd been there a long time  Divine Discontent   Jan-26-09 02:00 PM   #72 
  - Maybe he felt things were finally headed in the right direction and he could retire  diane in sf   Jan-26-09 02:04 PM   #73 
  - True patriot!  McCamy Taylor   Jan-26-09 03:07 PM   #74 
  - I hope that President Obama acknowledges this man in some way.  BrklynLiberal   Jan-26-09 04:02 PM   #76 
  - Saw him most every time I went to DC.  onehandle   Jan-26-09 04:06 PM   #77 
  - In honor of him, can we finally ban nukes?  Taverner   Jan-26-09 04:44 PM   #78 
  - Thanks for this post about a very interesting guy.  tclambert   Jan-26-09 04:54 PM   #79 

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