Let's see, his big crimes were
a) linking to a URL that was already published,
b) pointing out that the government had referred companies to private internet dicks who could take down a legit journalist,
c) hiding his laptop when the feds came, and
d) publishing a hysterical threatening Youtube in response to them threatening his mother with jail.
If he only had a badge or was on the government payroll, all of this would be dismissed because 1) oops, made a mistake - chokehold a tad too long, thought the suspect was armed, 2) shhhhh, shhhhhh - terror and all that.
But I'm sure you'll get kudos and mod points for "it's always been like that, suck it up" and "those darned script kiddies, always on my lawn" comments, being the adult in the room. Hope you can comment on the Risen/Sterling case and explain to us youngsters how we're all safer if we gin up a war with Iran under false pretenses, us being so starry-eyed and clinging to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington notions of how government should behave.
In a thinking system, point b would be enough to drop most charges and focus on the exposed government malfeasance. Instead, the US lets the FBI complainant summarize the evidence in court rather than the judge and jury listening to the evidence - http://www.vice.com/read/heres-what-happened-at-barrett-browns-gag-hearing-yesterday - you rule, dudes - that's how to fast-track a rush to conviction.