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COMMUNITY v. TURNER

May 17, 1989

COMMUNITY FOR CREATIVE NON-VIOLENCE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CARMEN E. TURNER, Defendant


Stanley Sporkin, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN

STANLEY SPORKIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs are Community for Creative Non-Violence ("CCNV"), The National Coalition for the Homeless, the Gray Panthers of Montgomery County, Maryland, Mitchell D. Snyder, Carol Fennelly and Brian Anders. Defendant Carmen E. Turner, is General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and is the chief administrative officer responsible for all activities of WMATA. WMATA is the operating agency for a regional transportation system for the Washington, D.C., area. In early 1987, WMATA adopted a regulation that required all persons seeking to engage in "free speech activity" on WMATA property to first obtain a permit from the WMATA central business office. Plaintiffs bring the action in the instant case as a facial challenge to this regulation, alleging violation of the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs seek an injunction enjoining defendant from enforcing this regulation.

 BACKGROUND

 WMATA was created by an interstate compact entered into by Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and incorporated into the D.C. Code to act as the operating agency for a regional transportation system for the Washington, D.C., area.

 The regulation specifically provides for its enforcement through criminal sanctions, fines, and imprisonment in accordance with local laws and ordinances should an unauthorized activity or an authorized activity in an unauthorized manner be conducted on WMATA property (§ 100.6(a) and (b)). This regulation has never been published in the District of Columbia Code, the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, or in the District of Columbia Statutes-at-Large.

 Plaintiffs in the instant case are individuals and community organizations who have either previously engaged or intend to engage in various forms of free speech activity on WMATA property. [See Plaintiffs' Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief at 8]. In a parallel criminal case, plaintiffs Snyder, Fennelly and other CCNV members were arrested and criminally prosecuted for unlawful entry as a result of allegedly violating the WMATA Regulation. See United States v. Kochol, Crim. Action No. M-13602-87 (D.C. Super Ct.) (Hamilton, J.), Appeal docketed No. 88-260 (D.C. Ct. App. 1988).

 In Kochol, there were two separate incidents which comprised the charge against the above plaintiffs. The first incident occurred on October 26, 1987. On that occasion, Snyder and two other CCNV members were standing on the sidewalk near the Farragut West Metro Station distributing leaflets. This area is WMATA-owned property and is part of what the WMATA Regulation classifies as the "above-ground area." The three CCNV members had failed to obtain a permit to conduct their activity as required by the WMATA Regulation. After being warned of this WMATA policy, plaintiffs refused to desist from their leafletting activity and were arrested by Metro Police officers on the charge of unlawful entry.

 The second incident occurred on November 3, 1987, and involved non-compliance with the terms of a permit that four members of the CCNV had obtained to conduct a prayer vigil. On this occasion, plaintiffs Snyder and Fennelly attempted to join this activity and were advised by WMATA Transit Police that this conduct would constitute a violation of the restrictions on CCNV's permit, which limited the number of vigil participants to four persons. Plaintiffs Snyder and Fennelly were subsequently arrested for unlawful entry based on the alleged violation of the Regulation's permit requirements.

 At a hearing on February 2, 1988, Judge Eugene Hamilton of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia dismissed criminal charges brought against plaintiffs arising from their arrests on October 26, 1987, and November 3, 1987. Judge Hamilton ruled the WMATA Regulation under which plaintiffs had been arrested to be overbroad and thus facially unconstitutional. This ruling is presently under appeal. At oral argument, counsel for defendant stated defendant did not consider Judge Hamilton's ruling to be binding on it and it would continue to enforce its regulation. Because of defendant's position, the court believes a case or controversy exists and that this case is ripe for decision.

 STANDARD ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

 To prevail on a motion for summary judgment the moving party must demonstrate that "there is no genuine issue to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(c) See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2552-53, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2511-12, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). In this facial challenge to the WMATA regulation, I find the essential dispositive facts regarding such an action to be undisputed. The material facts are the ...


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