Links, Liberty

Some links on the public emergency exception to Miranda warnings

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston marathon bombings, was not read his Miranda rights until a few days after he was arrested. Here are two excellent articles which explain the origin of this exception, why it is a dangerous idea, and how the Obama administration has expanded this exception.

By Emily Brazelon

By the incomparable Glen Greenwald

Now it turns out that not only was there a delay in reading Tsarnaev his Miranda rights, but his request for a lawyer were repeatedly denied, which is, as Glen Greenwald explains, worse.

Greenwald ends his eloquently column by quoting Thomas Paine and John Adams and pointing out that “Governments know that their best opportunity to institutionalize rights violations is when they can most easily manipulate the public into acquiescing to them by stoking public emotions of contempt against the individual target. For the reasons Paine and Adams explained, it is exactly in such cases – when public rage finds its most intense expression – when it is necessary to be most vigilant in defense of those rights.”

  • Dean Lambrecht

    You’ve misspelled Ms. Bazelon’s name…

  • j_m_h

    We didn’t speak out when they came for…

    It’s always a very sad story to see keep getting told.

    • Fallon

      Historian Richard J. Evans of The Third Reich Trilogy claims that Protestant Pastor Niemoller purposely left out Catholics in the original. If so, what a telling omission revealing cynical human nature … Notice that future versions– made by other people- include or exclude groups and wording based on their own biases. E.g. Watch for replacing communists with socialists.
      Oh well.

  • martinbrock

    This case illustrates the folly of reducing human rights to a legalistic dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s. If an officer had read the Miranda warning to Tsarnaev earlier, we don’t know the effect on the subsequent bombing investigation, but I doubt that the warning would have much affected his prosecution or his fate if convicted.

  • DavidCheatham

    Well, considering how open and shut this case is on evidence alone, I actually hope the court proceeds to thrown out everything Dzhokhar said, and reprimands the prosecutors for their behavior.

    When trying to make case law with a bad case usually is a ‘good idea’ for people who want the bad case law, it appears that _this_ case could actually backfire, seeing as there’s absolutely no reason for the courts _not_ to rule everything Dzhokhar said as inadmissible, and convict him on evidence alone.

    Hell, I’d actually like to see the denial of a _lawyer_ and the _deliberate_ withholding of Miranda(1) to result in the fruit of the poison tree being applied to all this.

    It normally isn’t for a Miranda violation, but I feel there’s a difference between a heat-of-the-moment question from a cop without Mirandizing that gets an incriminating answer, and a systematic plan to deprive someone of a lawyer which stretched out over days.

    I.e., if a cop chases a suspect down on foot and tackles them and says, offhand,’We know you did it, where’s the gun?’ and the suspect blurts out ‘You’ll never find it, I threw it in the river.’, the way it is now, that _answer_ can’t be used against him, but there’s no issue with the police now looking in the river and finding a gun with his fingerprints on it. And I think that’s fine.

    OTOH, I have very serious problems with what they did to Dzhokhar, and I think they not only should be forced to discard everything he _said_, but also anything that is a _result_ of what he said. Just like they have to discard everything that is the result of an illegal search.

    The whole idea of a ‘security’ exception to Miranda is complete nonsense. It would be trivial to come up with a standard _immunity_ deal for ‘security’, aka, ‘If you have something that will _become_ a crime, like an unexploded bomb, you can tell us and, assuming we can prevent it, we cannot charge you for that crime or even attempting that crime.’ Tada, everyone wins.

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