Remember Ashton Lundeby? He's the young chap who was arrested in North Carolina and moved to federal custody in Indiana, leading to widespread bloggy supposition that he was being held without charges and counsel by our increasingly totalitarian overlords and would be made a secret nonperson under the fell provisions of the PATRIOT Act. People supposed this largely because that's what his mother said, and because actual familiarity with federal criminal procedure (particularly as it applies to proceedings against juveniles) is obscure and frankly dull. Even when facts emerged suggesting that what he was experiencing was not post-PATRIOT-Act tyranny but straightforward application of federal criminal procedure in the wake of bomb threat allegations, the internet's scribblers continued to mutter darkly.
Now the other shoe has dropped. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Indiana has announced Lundeby's indictment for making a bomb threat against Purdue University, and confirms that they were first required to proceed against him as a juvenile until they could secure a court order that he be tried as an adult. This explains, as I suggested earlier, why there were no public filings against him, as federal juvenile proceedings are sealed.
Via the terribly useful PACER, I see that his arraignment on the indictment is today. Thanks to PACER, here is the indictment. That indictment asserts that Lundeby, in the company of a dysfunctional gang of internet assholes, was enaged in "swatting," which is making false threats or emergency calls in an attempt to trigger a massive and chaotic police response, sometimes by SWAT teams. As we frequently document here in the course of documenting behavior by police, that's the sort of situation in which trigger fingers are itchy and people get shot. So if it's true, fuck Ashton Lundeby very much.
By the way, all of the federal statutes under which Lundeby is indicted existed before the PATRIOT Act and were not substantially altered in a manner material to this indictment by the PATRIOT Act.
On another note, thanks to Above the Law, I see that somebody in the public relations office at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois needs to exercise better email discipline.
What lessons can we take from Ashton Lundeby? Well:
1. If you want to know why a person was arrested, and how the arrest when down, that person's mother is not always the most reliable source.
2. As I have argued before, the media knows jack shit about the PATRIOT Act, and too many people accept assertions about its terms uncritically.
3. Read, and think, before you OMGWHF. It's good to be concerned about the PATRIOT Act and other federal power-grasping. It's bad to be knee-jerk ignorant about it. Our leaders passed it without knowing what was in it. We can do better than them.
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