General Question

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

How do you feel about the home-schooled 10th grader who is being held under the Patriot Act?

Asked by SquirrelEStuff (9168points) May 5th, 2009
Mom says Patriot Act stripped son of due process
Ashton Lundeby

Posted: Apr. 29, 2009

Oxford, N.C. — Sixteen-year-old Ashton Lundeby’s bedroom in his mother’s Granville County home is nothing, if not patriotic. Images of American flags are everywhere – on the bed, on the floor, on the wall.

But according to the United States government, the tenth-grade home-schooler is being held on a criminal complaint that he made a bomb threat from his home on the night of Feb. 15.

Ashton Lundeby
Teen’s mom questions Patriot Act

The family was at a church function that night, his mother, Annette Lundeby, said.

“Undoubtedly, they were given false information, or they would not have had 12 agents in my house with a widow and two children and three cats,” Lundeby said.

Around 10 p.m. on March 5, Lundeby said, armed FBI agents along with three local law enforcement officers stormed her home looking for her son. They handcuffed him and presented her with a search warrant.

“I was terrified,” Lundeby’s mother said. “There were guns, and I don’t allow guns around my children. I don’t believe in guns.”

Lundeby told the officers that someone had hacked into her son’s IP address and was using it to make crank calls connected through the Internet, making it look like the calls had originated from her home when they did not.

Her argument was ignored, she said. Agents seized a computer, a cell phone, gaming console, routers, bank statements and school records, according to federal search warrants.

“There were no bomb-making materials, not even a blasting cap, not even a wire,” Lundeby said.

Ashton now sits in a juvenile facility in South Bend, Ind. His mother has had little access to him since his arrest. She has gone to her state representatives as well as attorneys, seeking assistance, but, she said, there is nothing she can do.

Lundeby said the USA Patriot Act stripped her son of his due process rights.

“We have no rights under the Patriot Act to even defend them, because the Patriot Act basically supersedes the Constitution,” she said. “It wasn’t intended to drag your barely 16-year-old, 120-pound son out in the middle of the night on a charge that we can’t even defend.”

Passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S., the Patriot Act allows federal agents to investigate suspected cases of terrorism swiftly to better protect the country. In part, it gives the federal government more latitude to search telephone records, e-mails and other records.

“They’re saying that ‘We feel this individual is a terrorist or an enemy combatant against the United States, and we’re going to suspend all of those due process rights because this person is an enemy of the United States,” said Dan Boyce, a defense attorney and former U.S. attorney not connected to the Lundeby case.

Critics of the statute say it threatens the most basic of liberties.

“There’s nothing a matter of public record,” Boyce said “All those normal rights are just suspended in the air.”

In a bi-partisan effort, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., last month introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives a bill that would narrow subpoena power in a provision of the Patriot Act, called the National Security Letters, to curb what some consider to be abuse of power by federal law enforcement officers.

Boyce said the Patriot Act was written with good intentions, but he said he believes it has gone too far in some cases. Lundeby’s might be one of them, he said.

“It very well could be a case of overreaction, where an agent leaped to certain conclusions or has made certain assumptions about this individual and about how serious the threat really is,” Boyce said.

Because a federal judge issued a gag order in the case, the U.S. attorney in Indiana cannot comment on the case, nor can the FBI. The North Carolina Highway Patrol did confirm that officers assisted with the FBI operation at the Lundeby home on March 5.

“Never in my worst nightmare did I ever think that it would be my own government that I would have to protect my children from,” Lundeby said. “This is the United States, and I feel like I live in a third world country now.”

Lundeby said she does not think this type of case is what the Patriot Act was intended for. Boyce agrees.

“It was to protect the public, but what we need to do is to make sure there are checks and balances to make sure those new laws are not abused,” he said.

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38 Answers

Zaku's avatar

The Patriot Act has always been a power grab and a travesty. In the “land of liberty”, calling that the “patriot” act is evil irony. It should be repealed. The fact that it isn’t being repealed makes this “the land of cowardice” – how many thugs with guns does it take to protect us from one probably-innocent teenager? When does he get justice?

bea2345's avatar

”...I feel like I live in a third world country now.” No kidding.

elijah's avatar

I think the cops did the right thing by taking action. Sometimes parents have no idea what their kid is up to. Just because he’s home schooled doesn’t mean he is more innocent than other kids. School shootings happen. Bombs happen. Children can hurt and kill people. I would hope in the case of a child the investigation would be moved along as quickly as possible. The mother of course is upset, but I see no rights being taken away. Just because you claim innocence doesn’t mean cops will say “oh ok I guess we were wrong”. It is sad that a possibly innocent child is going through this, but better one kid get held for a couple weeks than multiple kids get hurt or killed.

miss_sarcastic's avatar

“This is the United States, and I feel like I live in a third world country now.”

Yes, she has a right to be upset, but I doubt she knows what it’s like to live in a third world country. If she really did live in a third world country, all she’d have to do is either bribe the arresting police officer or the judge overseeing the case.

Problem solved.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If a mistake was made I think the Dept. of Homeland Security needs to make things right so these grievous errors don’t continue.

As for the Patriot Act, I think the whole thing was a knee jerk reaction to 9–11.
Worse than that, it was indicative of the mindset at the time that people were willing to give up their rights to feel “safe”. Bad precedent established there.

elijah's avatar

If anything, it’s the exact opposite of a third world country. Here at least crimes get investigated. Innocent people have a chance of clearing their name. In other countries you can get jailed for stupid things and you have no chance of getting out. You can’t expect laws to protect you and then turn around and complain when laws get followed.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I remember when the terrorists were the Muslim extremists. Now we can all be labeled a terrorist.
Don’t you see? All the “terrorism” laws can and are being used on us. The definition of terrorist is becoming very broad.

MissAusten's avatar

Using the Patriot Act in this case is, I think, a huge stretch. This is a kid, and he’s been held for more than two months. That is wrong. It sounds like the FBI and police responded to a threat, as they certainly should have. They acted on the information they had and no one was hurt. But if a search came up with absolutely no evidence the kid was building a bomb, why not allow him to be out on bail while the case proceeds? Why not allow legal defense? In my opinion, this is a blatant misuse of the Patriot Act.

He should have an attorney, and a judge and/or jury should be able to decide if there’s enough evidence to convict him of any crime. I believe the burden of proof is on the state. I really feel for this kid and his mom. That said, if he made the threat he should have to deal with the consequences.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Shouldn’t this case be on national news?

Maybe hes being held as an “enemy combatant.”

miss_sarcastic's avatar

Another thing about third world countries – in several third world countries a Police Officer can arrest someone or search one’s house without any supporting legal documents (ie a search warrant or arrest warrant) and get away with it. I really wish she had not said that comment about Third World countries.

And MissAusten is right, this is a blatant misuse of the Patriot Act.

seVen's avatar

I’m always for freedom of education .

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes this is an outrage. Habeas corpus has been shredded. Any citizen of this nation should be afforded due process. To frame everything within the auspices of war and terrorism prevention makes this country under a perpetual marshal law which is unconscienable in a democratic society. In a case like this, the normal process of the law should have been followed. Junior has a pocket knife! Oh no he’s a terrorist!!

YARNLADY's avatar

@SeventhSense “ARE WE WAITING FOR OUR CHILDREN TO BE DRAGGED OUT IN THE STREET?” Is who waiting for what? Could you be a little more clear here?

SeventhSense's avatar

I’m addressing the apathy represented by some of these posts. Due process is being further eroded by the precedent that is set by such abuses as this incident.

SeventhSense's avatar

^^ That’s a first.. 4 lurves and only 1 registers..I guess I met my quota?

EnzoX24's avatar

If anything, it’s the exact opposite of a third world country. Here at least crimes get investigated. Innocent people have a chance of clearing their name. In other countries you can get jailed for stupid things and you have no chance of getting out. You can’t expect laws to protect you and then turn around and complain when laws get followed.

This right here is the problem. He isn’t being given the right to clear his name, he is being jailed for a stupid thing with logical evidence proving his innocence, he’s barely been allowed visitors. This act contradicts every point you just made. What about the right to a trial? He is not being given any chance to defend himself. The fact that you actually defend this disgrace to the Constitution makes me sick.

MissAusten's avatar

He’s also being held in Indiana, even though he was arrested in North Carolina. I saw the video with one of the articles listed above, and the mom seems like she has her act together. I know if one of my kids were suddenly whisked off to another state with no rights at all, I’d be out of my mind.

If that kid wasn’t some kind of deliquent, he probably will be by the time he gets out of that detention center.

elijah's avatar

@EnzoX24 as I said in my first post I would hope investigations and trials would happen quickly with regard to children. It’s not right the way they are dragging it out, but my point was you don’t even know if the kid is guilty or innocent. The mother of course wouldn’t believe her baby did anything wrong. I’m saying it’s neccessary for the case to procede regardless of statements of innocence. There is a chance he did it.
I’m not condoning the length of time it’s taking.

SeventhSense's avatar

It’s the means by which it’s done. I don’t think anyone is condoning lawlessness even if it’s a minor doing the lawlessness but the problem is authorities are acting lawless and yet it’s “lawful”. It’s crazy because this is not a banana republic where we fear a coup. It’s not necessary and sets the stage for further abuses. Back when Nixon used his office for blatant abuse, the country was in uproar but now we have Acts which use war or fear as a cover for similar abuses. How telling is this quote by one of our founding fathers when contextualizing the abuses by the Department of Homeland Security:

“And it proves, in the last place, that liberty can have nothing to fear from the judiciary alone, but would have everything to fear from its union with either of the other departments.”

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 78, 1788

wundayatta's avatar

Many people warned of what could happen when the Patriot Act was passed. I believe the Feds can keep this boy indefinitely without proving anything, or even charging him. Essentially, the cops can do what they want, just on their sayso, under the Patriot Act. Perhaps a judge is involved, too, but the judge only gets to know what they tell him or her. If the FBI doesn’t want to be embarrassed if they made a mistake, they may be able to keep him forever, just like at Gitmo.

I think this should concern all of us.

YARNLADY's avatar

This is an example of a complete travesty of the system. However, I firmly believe it will get sorted out, and that truth will prevail. I would much rather concentrate my attention on working with the system to provide the proper checks and balances within the Act.

SeventhSense's avatar

There is no proper use from within the Act. It’s not proper- illegal monitoring, illegal search and seizure, no need for warrant. It was supposed to expire 5 years ago.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I just hope this is used as a good example of why the Patriot Act needs to be amended, if not repealed entirely.

benjaminlevi's avatar

This is why merely closing gitmo is not enough

Judi's avatar

Who asked a while back, “has the patriot act negatively impacted you?” There’s your answer.

Zuma's avatar

This is exactly what the Patriot Act was designed to do—scoop people up and lock them away on mere suspicion, or for anything at all that displeases the government.

The truly scary thing about this episode is that with all the expertise, surveillance technology and investigatory powers of the nation behind it, the authorities still cannot tell the difference between an ordinary 16-year old boy and a terrorist.

YARNLADY's avatar

the majority of the story as told by the mother is false. The Patriot Act is not involved, her son is not being held with no charges, and no access:

The claim that the boy is a victim of USA PATRIOT, though, appears to have been cut from whole cloth. While there’s plenty to criticize in that post-9/11 law, it doesn’t contain any provision that abrogates a defendant’s right to a trial. It’s also not responsible for making it illegal to phone in a bomb threat. That’s been a federal crime since 1939.

His mother admits that he did have a court hearing and he was represented by council. She even admits the Patriot Act had nothing to do with it.

In a TV interview with Alex Jones: “Jones: And they said they are charging him under the Patriot Act, so –

Lundeby: They’re not saying that, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.

SeventhSense's avatar

Is her son being held? Has he been charged with a crime? If not, that is a violation of his rights. They’ve had the computer for months and haven’t determined if there is validity to their accusation against him?

YARNLADY's avatar

“The boy’s mother, Annette Lundeby, has even acknowledged in interviews that her son has been formally charged, has a court-appointed attorney, and has already made appearances in front of a judge. No military tribunals here”.

SeventhSense's avatar

is he in jail? what is the charge?

YARNLADY's avatar

@SeventhSense Did you see my reply? Did you look at the article I have linked? All the information is there.

SeventhSense's avatar

Nowhere in the link does it say if or where he is in custody?

But I was able to find from another link that ” Ashton is being held at the Thomas N. Frederick Juvenile Justice Center in South Bend, Indiana”
And why is he being held if he was the victim of a hoax or a caller I.D switch? Has anyone ever have had their computer hijacked by a Virus?

Title 18, Section 844 (e) of the US Code makes it a felony punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years to make a bomb threat, either real or bogus, using “the mail, telephone, telegraph, or other instrument of interstate commerce….”

But what if someone simply used another’s system?

That provision would explain the involvement of the FBI in a suspected bomb threat made from North Carolina against Purdue University in Indiana. Whatever the wisdom of that statute, its existence would appear to make use of the PATRIOT act gratuituous. This doesn’t mean that the Feds didn’t take the easy route, as Mrs. Lundeby claims, of course. But it does mean that if Ashton was involved in making bomb threats, he bought himself more trouble than he expected.

YARNLADY's avatar

This is a direct quote from the link: “he’s been held without bail in Indiana ever since.”

Obviously they have information that is not being released to the public beyond what his clueless mother has been saying.

SeventhSense's avatar

sorry I guess I missed it

fireside's avatar

Here’s the important paragraph:

Caller ID spoofing seems more likely, if he really was framed. We’re not in a position to weigh the feds’ case, because — as in every federal prosecution of a minor — the file is under seal. That, too, has nothing to do with USA PATRIOT: It’s a provision of federal law intended to give juvenile defendants a clean slate when they reach adulthood.

Hopefully, they will admit to an overreaction and misuse if the evidence does not hold up.

Garebo's avatar

All I know the Feds are on hyper alert to any anti-government activity, especially if it has a strong nationalistic, or right wing complexion; they will deal with it, via the Patriot Act by abhorrent means. I have heard law enforcement have been instructed to seriously watch such folk. It will only get worse if the unemployment continues to rise.

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