Joseph Caputo’s climbing of the White House grounds’ north fence was in the same spirit as a a sit-in or other nonviolent demonstration intended to call attention to ideas, his lawyer said. (Vanessa Peña)

An attorney for the man who climbed over the White House fence last week said his client was a “good American” who meant no harm but had chosen an un­usual means of delivering proposals to improve government.

Joseph Anthony Caputo, 23, was “not militant, not violent” and definitely not suicidal, although he was portrayed that way in news accounts, said the lawyer, Stephan Seeger.

Although his action renewed concerns about White House security, Caputo, a resident of Stamford, Conn., did not intend to be seen as any sort of menace, Seeger said.

His proposals involved such matters as voting, the judiciary and the separation of powers, Seeger said. Although he did not discuss them in detail, he indicated that they leaned in the direction of expanding the pool of those eligible to cast ballots, and to enlist judges more representative of the public.

Draped in an American flag, Caputo climbed the fence Thursday while the first family was celebrating Thanksgiving and was quickly taken into custody by the Secret Service. He was charged with unlawful entry and sent for a psychiatric evaluation.

The lawyer said Caputo had successfully dealt with Asperger’s syndrome and added that the mental condition is sometimes associated with impulsive behavior. That might have contributed to the decision to climb the fence, Seeger said. But, he said, nobody has spoken to Caputo long enough to find exactly what precipitated his action or its timing.

In support of his assertions that Caputo presented no threat, Seeger noted how quick he was to surrender. He also said he quickly dropped what he carried, a binder with his written suggestions for improvements to the Constitution and American government.

Caputo’s act, the lawyer suggested, was more akin to a sit-in or other nonviolent demonstration intended to call attention to ideas rather than to pose a threat.

Seeger challenged suggestions that Caputo intended to die. What writings he left behind had been wrongly characterized, the lawyer said. “None of the information I have before me suggests he wanted to take his own life in any way,” Seeger said.

When he was reached Sunday, Seeger — who practices criminal law in the New York City area — was on his way to Washington, where he expected to appear Monday on Caputo’s behalf.

In climbing the fence Thursday, Caputo surmounted or avoided the pencil-style spikes that had been recently affixed to deter such acts.

The lawyer said Caputo had been studying criminal justice at the University of Bridgeport and trained in the martial arts.