I have been reading some interesting reports that Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is not being read his Miranda Rights and that he possibly will not be eligible for Miranda Rights at all. I want to talk a little bit about how scary this notion is.
Now don’t get me wrong, if he and his brother were truly the bombers, these scumbags need to pay. But he is technically an American Citizen, and deserves the same rights that each of us would get if we were arrested. The FBI released the reason why he wasn’t being read his rights with the following:
The public safety exception is triggered when police officers have an objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger. Because the standard is objective, the availability of the exception does not depend on subjective motivation of the officers. Legitimate concerns for officer safety or public safety prompting unwarned custodial questioning arise in a variety of contexts. A common factor that can be gleaned from the courts addressing this issue is the prior knowledge or awareness of specific facts or circumstances that give rise to the imminent safety concern that prompted the questioning.
The public safety exception is usually used in terrorist situations where public safety must be made a priority. They need to find out if there are more bombs or if anyone else was involved. I understand that, and it is necessary. But it is scary to think that this can be implemented at any time.
Tsarnaev is technically an American citizen, and holds equals rights to all of us normal people. He is being denied his Miranda Rights and being held as a military prisoner. Also, if he is tried as a military combatant he will not be required to be appointed counsel in court. That means that an AMERICAN CITIZEN is denied legal representation according to our system of law.
That is some seriously bad juju. I am not a conspiracy theorist or some kind of Big Brother junky waiting for the government to take over. I just firmly believe in due process. What if we come to find out that, while these brothers may have been crazy, they did not commit the terrorist act accused of them.
We will have lawfully FALSELY TRIED A CITIZEN WITHOUT LEGAL COUNSEL.
That is some scary stuff. So while I agree that we need to know what information he has, and the interrogation team should work to find out as much as they can, I certainly think the proposition that you have no rights when you are accused of a terrorist act is a bit overwhelming.
If he is the killer, then all of this is justified. If he is not, then this will be a massive injustice that will forever scar the face of our nation. One of the reasons we founded this country was to stop this kind of behavior.
This also creates a precedent that anyone labeled a terrorist can have their rights revoked, regardless of nationality. Terrorism is a very subjective term, and can be used to do injustice to innocent people if mishandled.
I don’t like any instance of people getting rights taken away, crazy or not. It sets a bad standard for how we handle crises in the future.
I fear for the consequences these actions may have in the future, and how we will handle this type of situation should it arise again.