Ralph Vartabedian and Peter Pae
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
At least 200 passengers have been convicted of felonies under the Patriot Act, often for behavior involving raised voices and profanity. Some experts say airlines are misusing the law.
Reporting from Los Angeles and Oklahoma City — Tamera Jo Freeman was on a Frontier Airlines flight to Denver in 2007 when her two children began to quarrel over the window shade and then spilled a Bloody Mary into her lap.
She spanked each of them on the thigh with three swats. It was a small incident, but one that in the heightened anxiety after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would eventually have enormous ramifications for Freeman and her children.
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The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Freeman’s arrest and conviction for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.
“I had no idea I was breaking the law,” said Freeman, 40, who spent three months in jail before pleading guilty.
This article was posted: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12:18 pm