Wednesday, May 06, 2009

So Proud to be an American

A suspected terrorist. He's in the 10th grade. The kid is alleged to have made bomb threats. No hearing, no meeting a lawyer, no habeas corpus, no chance of seeing any of the evidence against him.

Now, the kid may have made bomb threats, over the internet. Or maybe he
didn't. But how can you arrest a U.S. citizen without evidence or formal charges, or a bail hearing?

When the Patriot Act passed, several of my colleagues at Duke told me I was paranoid, that of COURSE the government would never use these powers internally. And I said then, of COURSE the government will do exactly that.

Look, the people who work for law enforcement are good people. They thought they had a case. And maybe they DO have a case. The point is there is no way of knowing. And the point is that there CAN'T be no way of knowing. We have rights to due process.

All of you people who supported do you like it now? Coming soon, to a home very, very near you (in fact, it's your home): the Patriot Act. No hearings. No bail. And no explanation.

(Nod to Roxanne P., for the link)

UPDATE: Why no coverage of this story? Yes, WRAL is an MSM outlet. But otherwise zero MSM coverage. Except maybe this story in a tiny local paper.

To be clear, I'm not jumping on the "free Ashton Lundeby" bandwagon. I am jumping on the "Give Ashton Lundeby a bail hearing" bandwagon. That is a bandwagon we all should be jumping on.

The real question is how the Patriot Act, a STATUTE, can suspend provisions of the Constitution? Here are the provisions I have in mind:

Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Anonymous said...

Here's the rub:

A federal gubmint/agency/entity is given new powers, and a new budget, those powers are meaningless if they are not exercised. What academics (mungo excepted) don't understand is that the elected officials/agency heads/ bureaucrats do not have conferences and seminars on whether or how to appropriately exercise powers. They have an incentive to exercise the all the power given to them. That's how their budgets are increased, they're rewarded professionally and how they justify their existence.

As to whether it's constitutional, that's for the third branch to decide, not them- and they know it.

Juris Naturalist said...

I love cops, it's the police I can't stand.
That is, I am grateful for the people who put their lives on the line to serve their communities and protect us from bad guys. I can't stand the systematic concentration of power and justification of arbitrary application of that power.

Rhayader said...

There are about a dozen unanswered questions here about Lundeby's situation. Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to differentiate between government secrecy and journalistic omission based on this WRAL report.

They didn't even talk about a lawyer, about bail, or really about anything involving due process. All we know is that his mother and WRAL were given the cold shoulder; there was no statement in the story one way or the other about how Ashton is actually being treated.

Don't get me wrong, this story has all the obvious earmarks of ultra-aggressive enforcement of the deplorable PATRIOT Act, complete with the late-night home invasion and fruitless search. I just wish WRAL had done a little more homework instead of the sappy stuff about American flags in the bedroom and dramatic zoom-ins on Ashton's face.

Anonymous said...

There had to be a initial appearance before a magistrate or district court judge. Then there had to be a preliminary hearing. Maybe he did not make bail.

Anonymous said...

Well at least Obama is improving the civil liberties situation in the US and closing Guantanamo.