OPINION BY DONNA WESTFALL
TV, newspaper, radio and internet continue to circulate information concerning the tragic and shocking bombing and aftermath at the Boston Marathon. We now know that two brothers were involved. The older brother was killed and the younger one, suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was found hiding in a boat in the backyard of a man in the suburb of Watertown area of Boston. Dzhokhar currently in stable condition at a Boston hospital but has started responding to questions in writing.
One interesting aspect of the case involves Mirandizing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I, like most Americans, thought we all had the right to remain silent. However, the government is invoking a public safety exception.
Although we’ve heard suspects read their Miranda rights on TV cop shows; here they are again:
The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that they have the right to remain silent,
and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court;
the person must be clearly informed that they have the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning,
and that, if they are indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent them.
Going back in history; Ernesto Arturo Miranda was arrested for domestic violence. He was deprived of his 5th and 6th Amendment rights. In the 5th Amendment it covers due process and self incrimination. In the 6th Amendment it covers right to a speedy trial. In 1966, the Supreme Court decision stated that all persons in custody and prior to their interrogation must be read their Miranda rights.
States bordering Mexico add this additional warnings: “If you are not a United States citizen, you may contact your country’s consulate prior to any questioning.”
In the 1984 case New York v. Quarles, the Supreme Court carved out the public safety exception for a man suspected of rape. The victim said her assailant had a gun, and he was wearing an empty holster. So the police asked him where the gun was before reading him his Miranda rights. That exception was allowable, the court said, because of the immediate threat that the gun posed.
But the exception to the Miranda warning lasts only 48 hours and should be extended by declaring Tsarnaev a potential enemy combatant, under the Law of War. The brothers cowardly act that resulted in the killing of three including an 8 year old boy; and the maiming and injuring of more than 170 people during the Marathon; plus the fear in the hearts of all Americans does not warrant extending Miranda rights.
To find out if Dzhokhar is part of a cell then I, as an American, want our government to do whatever is necessary to protect the safety of our citizens and residents. If it means he loses his Miranda rights, I don’t have a problem with that. If the ACLU has a problem with that, let the ACLU take it to court.