Former D.C. City Councilman Douglas E. Moore was ordered jailed for six months yesterday after a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled Moore had ignored terms of his probation for an assault conviction stemming from a biting attack on a tow truck driver in 1975.
Senior Judge Milton D. Korman ordered Moore to jail immediately after probation officer William C. Simpson testified Moore had failed to report to him or submit to a psychiatric examination as ordered by Korman.
But before Moore was led away by marshals, according to several persons present, the 52-year-old Methodist clergyman gave an impassioned 40-minute speech, calling his assault conviction the result of "political prosecution" and accusing the city judicial system of racist oppression.
"He castigated just about everybody -- the U.S. Attorney's office, the probation officers, the court -- you name it," said Korman after the morning hearing. "It was all to the general effect that blacks don't get a break in the system, and we're all terrible people. I just let him talk, and then I revoked his probation," Korman said.
Moore, who was defeated in a council reelection bid in 1978, was convicted in June 1976 of assaulting 19-year-old tow truck driver Thomas L. Smith during an altercation in a parking lot behind the District Building. Smith testified that Moore, then an at-large City Council member, struck him and bit him on the back after Moore claimed Smith's tow truck was blocking Moore's car.
Moore testified he punched Smith, a white youth, because he feared Smith was about to assassinate him after he saw the youth make a "feinting" motion toward him. Moore said he had received numerous threats on his life as a council member and feared assassination because the thought of his friend, slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, flashed through his mind.
After his conviction, Moore was sentenced to six months in jail and a $500 fine. Judge Korman, however, suspended the jail time and ordered Moore placed on two years' probation, specifying that he report regularly to a probation officer and undergo psychiatric evaluation for possible counseling.
Moore paid the $500 fine, but failed to comply with the terms of his probation. At one point, he appealed the probation but lost the appeal.
He was ordered again to begin his probation this spring. When he continued not to comply, Korman ordered him back into court yesterday to show cause why the probation should not be revoked and the original 6-month sentence reimposed.
Moore came to court accompanied by his attorney, William Borders, but said he preferred to represent himself. Korman agreed.
After Moore's speech "about the allegedly racist judicial system, Korman reminded Moore that the prosecutor at Moore's trial in 1976 had been black and that the chief judges of all four D.C. courts are now black, said an attorney in the courtroom.