The funny thing about making exceptions to due process? Since the whole point of due process is to make sure the state’s power isn’t abused, letting the state skip over it pretty much guarantees that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Take the following recent application of the USA PATRIOT* Act:
Yes, according to that reporter (and God knows why this hasn’t been picked up and run more prominently in the week since it was first aired), young Mr Lundeby has been languishing in a jail cell since February, and the state won’t say anything about it.
Is this really acceptable? Could this be enough to make Americans finally realise what it is that they lost in October 2001 when the state used the nation’s grief to withdraw its citizens’ more basic rights? Or will they still feel confident that it “couldn’t happen to them”?
First they came for the 16 year old kid with an internet connection that someone had hacked…
PS – I love that the journalist starts her reports with all those American flags, just to reinforce that this is A GOOD AMERICAN KID and not one of those filthy hippy liberals or something.
*They made up a bullshit acronym for it, seriously.
UPDATE: Wired reckons that this story’s a bit of a beat-up, saying that the boy has been charged, given a court-appointed attorney and appeared before a judge. It admits that the kid’s been held without bail since March 5 – two months and counting (the next court date is May 22) – which is beyond ludicrous. (Holding a 16 year old boy for TWO MONTHS WITHOUT BAIL? When he clearly has a stable address to be bailed to, could report regularly, is supposed to be at school etc – WTF?) Wired’s argument is that none of what’s happened to the boy has anything to do with extra powers granted by USA PATRIOT – it’s just regular, old fashioned heavy-handed treatment by US law enforcement.
UPDATE #2: Just heavy-handed treatment: Wired reports that the kid was, allegedly, part of a prank-calling ring that would, for five dollars, ring up YOUR school and make a bomb threat so you’d get the day off. Pretty outrageous behaviour, for which he should certainly be punished.
Why he’s being held without bail, after more than two months, is more of a question. He’s 16, for god sake. They could easily bail him to his mother’s address and keep close tabs on his internet use. How long do they jail children in the US for stuff like this, anyway?