Boston Bombing Suspect Won’t Be Read His Miranda Rights
A strange loophole in the law means Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be questioned without being advised of his Miranda Rights.
AP (“Why The Boston Bombing Suspect Won’t Be Read His Miranda Rights“):
A Justice Department official says the Boston Marathon bombing suspect will not be read his Miranda rights because the government is invoking a public safety exception.
That official and a second person briefed on the investigation says 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be questioned by a special interrogation team for high-value suspects. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the information publicly.
The public safety exception permits law enforcement officials to engage in a limited and focused unwarned interrogation of a suspect and allows the government to introduce the statement as evidence in court. The public safety exception is triggered when police officers have an objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger.
I have no problem in principle with an exigent circumstances exception to Miranda. I can envision situations where police simply don’t have time for this particular nicety because the public is truly in imminent danger.
This, however, does not seem to be one of those situations. I have no particular sympathy for Tsarnaev, who was given sanctuary in this country that allowed him to escape his war-torn homeland and have a much better life here only to, allegedly, terrorize the city he called home, murdering and maiming innocents. But there’s no theory of the case that I’m aware of that has the public in continued danger. His brother is dead. He’s in police custody. There are no remaining brothers.There’s no known connection to a broader group.
Why don’t authorities have 30 seconds to read him his rights before interrogating him? They could have done it on the way to jail with time to spare.
Update (Doug Mataconis): I’ve added my thoughts about this issue, as well as a look at the law behind it, in a post titled Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Miranda, And The Public Safety Exception