Ward Morehouse with Democracy Brigade

December 18, 2000: Ward Morehouse, a resident at 7902 Myresville Road in Middletown, appeared before Judge Frederick Weisberg in District of Columbia Superior Court today to answer chargers that he had engaged in an illegal political demonstration in the Rotunda of the US Capitol on October 14. This political demonstration led to his arrest by the Capitol Police. Morehouse, 71, argued that he was responding to his own voice of conscience in demanding that all Americans have the right to universal health care and that corporate money and all other forms of corporate influence be eliminated from the political process as they were in Wisconsin, his state of origin, for half a century until 1953. "Until these happen," Morehouse told Judge Weisberg, "the democratic society we all desire for our country will remain an impossible dream." The judge accepted Morehouse' plea of "guilty in the service of democracy", imposing only a mandatory payment of $50 to the District of Columbia Crime Victim Compensation Fund, rejecting the prosecutor's demand for a $100 fine. In his statement to the Court, Morehouse, an internationally known human rights advocate, cited his own experience in India with non-violent civil disobedience as practiced by the Indian freedom fighter, Mohandas Gandhi, whose methods inspired constructive social change" through such actions. The demonstration in the Capital on October 14 was organized by the Alliance for Democracy, a nationwide network of local chapters and individual members working toward a more democratic future for the United States. The demonstration was one of a series, entitled Democracy Brigades, organized around critical issues such as universal health care and public financing of election campaigns. Morehouse and his co-defendant, Dr. Ken Frisoff, a physician from Cleveland, Ohio and a leader in the campaign for single-payer health care, were represented by Mark Goldstone, an active member of the DC public interest bar.