Local News

Mom says Patriot Act stripped son of due process

Posted April 29, 2009

— 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.

139 Comments

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  • franklkinney May 8, 11:37 a.m.

    frighten young man of 16 taken from home and out of state from his widow mother and security of his home and community? charged with crime? NO! did authorities find bomb NO? PRANK CALL PERIOD! young man mother say a hacker got on his computer system? his defence? this authorities take and keep them from each other? child they keep from his own mother? talk about extreamist threat to ones rights? a child" this is how our goverment treats children over nothing more than prank call? which he says he did not do? priority! parks taken over by drug gangs and people are told to stay out because they are armed? armed and protecting their dope crops in america live? i think that was georgia? priority? storm troopers invade widow mother and childs home on bomb threat call find nothing? held and taken out of state? by waco national guard veterans you think? priorities extreamist goverment? homeland security borders ports left wide open? priorities? action? hate crimes? extreamist? AMEN.

  • Xiaoding May 7, 11:58 a.m.

    "THE FBI DOES NOT ARREST A 16-YEAR-OLD, AND KEEP HIM FOR TWO MONTHS, AND INVOKE A GAG ORDER, FOR NO REASON!"

    Justify this statement. Facts, please. Please explain what a 16 year old can do to justify this treatment.

  • Xiaoding May 7, 11:57 a.m.

    "Anyway, for all of you so scared of the Patriot Act, we had to do somethig to nab terrorists quickly without waiting for some liberal judge to sign a warrant. I know this reeks of Fascism, but, it had to be done in this case."

    What on Earth on you blabbing about? what do you mean by "this case"?

  • pesnowdog May 7, 11:21 a.m.

    Ok people here is contact information to get involved in this.

    This Hagan's contact info:

    email: http://hagan.senate.gov/contact/contact.cfm

    521 Dirksen Senate Office

    Building

    Washington, DC 20510

    Phone: 202-224-6342

    Fax: 202-228-2563

    #

    GREENSBORO OFFICE – STATE HEADQUARTERS

    701 Green Valley Rd; Suite 201

    Greensboro, NC 27408

    Phone: 336-333-5311

    Fax: 336-333-5331

    #

    RALEIGH OFFICE

    310 New Bern Avenue

    Raleigh, NC 27601

    Phone: 919-856-4630

    Fax: 919-856-4053

    For Burr:

    email: http://burr.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm

    Washington, DC

    217 Russell Senate Office Building

    Washington, DC 20510

    Phone: (202) 224-3154

    Fax: (202) 228-2981

    Winston-Salem

    2000 West First Street

    Suite 508

    Winston-Salem, NC 27104

    Phone: (800) 685-8916

    Phone: (336) 631-5125

    Fax: (336) 725-4493

    Governor Perdue:

    email: http://www.governor.state.nc.us/eTownhall/suggestionBox.aspx

    Phone: (919)733-4240

    Fax: (919)733-2120

    No excuses, anyone! Light up these phone/fax and email lines!

    WHA

  • jimposter May 7, 10:06 a.m.

    16 year old kids are not terrorists, at least not unless raised in a Madrassa in dunghill country in Pakistan and indoctrinated since birth to be one. Even if there is any truth to the allegations it should be handled by the juvenile justice system. In times of crisis bad decisions are made by lawmakers. The Patriot Act, in certain respects, was a bad decision. Someone should alert as many media people as possible about this case and it should make the rounds of talk radio in order to get the word out. There is absolutely no excuse for violating the constitution. When due process is ignored the rule of law disappears. This is a truth firmly entrenched in western concepts of government since the Magna Carta.

  • inlo May 7, 9:36 a.m.

    The Feds do not have to announce they are acting under the Patriot Act. Why is a teenager shipped to Indiana. NC has no youth facilities the feds can use? Maybe it is because Indiana has a high population of home schoolers, but most don't hate guns.

    From watching 24 you can hijack an IP Address, but unless they hacked directly into the computer the 'experts' can determine if the activity happened on that specific computer.

  • tgw May 7, 9:20 a.m.

    This story seems to be missing several parts. I do not understand-however, the so much being seeled, we may not know for a while.

    Anyway, for all of you so scared of the Patriot Act, we had to do somethig to nab terrorists quickly without waiting for some liberal judge to sign a warrant. I know this reeks of Fascism,

    but, it had to be done in this case.

    You need to be worried about a President "giving" auto companies to the Unions(should make for great negotiations), replacing CEo's with his cronnies, threatening banks, actually bulliing corperations,

    snubbing the Brisish PM(our most sacred ally), kissing the hand of a Saudi Prince(how many 9-11 guys were Saudi?), snubbing the Christian world on the National Day of Prayer, and ....

    I have said for 2 years that Barack Obama was a Muslim-Al Queida

    sleeper-and you guys drank the kool aid. Hope you survive. I'm ready to...

  • hornetskc May 7, 9:00 a.m.

    Read the article more closely please. The only person in this article claiming that the Patriot Act is in play here is the mother. Authorities have their usual 24 hours to declare on what charges they are holding this minor. To rush to blame Patriot Act in this case is ignorant of the powers of the Patriot Act and being done to satisfy some other agenda I believe.

  • 1153rsmith May 7, 8:11 a.m.

    schopenhauer, how is it that you think that because a person homeschools, their child was "kicked" out of school. It seems you are trying to imply that homeschoolers who don't like guns can't be trusted.

    The only thing I know about this case is what has been printed. I can't believe this case is not getting more attention in the media.

    How would you feel if this were your son sitting in a detention center several states away?

  • schopenhauer May 6, 7:30 p.m.

    Mom started to list bomb-making ingredients, then stopped and said she didn't know how to build a bomb.

    Mom claims her son's ISP# was hacked, and then complained that his computer was taken.

    She is a home-schooling mom who "hates guns" which leads me to believe that her little darling was kicked out school so she is home schooling out of necessity.

    Mom is making incorrect claims about the Patriot Act; honesty clearly means nothing to her.

    Mom is probably hoping to rile up the populist nutz so they act unconstitutionally (and pile on the authorities) to free her guilty son.

    Is that "former" federal attorney her current boyfriend? Why else would he defend her silly claims?

    There is absolutely no reason to believe one word that comes out of that woman's mouth!

    THE FBI DOES NOT ARREST A 16-YEAR-OLD, AND KEEP HIM FOR TWO MONTHS, AND INVOKE A GAG ORDER, FOR NO REASON!

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