Sunday, April 21, 2013
I write today to defend a fellow citizen’s Fifth Amendment right to remain silent during a custodial interrogation and his Sixth Amendment right to consult with counsel and have counsel present during a custodial interrogation. He has not been questioned yet due to his medical condition.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a naturalized United States citizen in custody for his suspected participation in a scheme that detonated two bombs killing 3 people and injuring many more along the Boston Marathon race course on April 15, 2013. He is also a suspect in the murder of a law enforcement officer on the campus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after the bombing.
He is not an enemy combatant who attacked United States military personnel on foreign soil.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be advised that he has those rights before law enforcement agents attempt to question him and no interrogation should take place, unless he voluntarily waives those rights and agrees to answer questions. No less is required by the SCOTUS decision in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966).
If an interrogation proceeds without the advice of rights and voluntary waiver of those rights required by Miranda, then anything he says should be suppressed and cannot be used against him in a court of law.
He has the right to be charged and prosecuted in the United States criminal justice system, rather than before a military tribunal, and accorded all of the rights that would be accorded to any other defendant charged with a crime.
The United States Department of Justice has announced that he will be prosecuted in the civilian criminal justice system and that is a proper decision.
However, despite an acknowledged lack of any evidence or reason to believe that Tsarnaev is part of a larger plot with plans to commit other terrorist acts, the Justice Department has announced that it intends to interrogate him without Mirandizing him.
This decision is an intentional violation of Miranda that not only violates the suspect’s rights, it potentially jeopardizes the prosecution.
There is no reason ever to sacrifice due process of law and this casecertainly provides no compelling reason to consider making an exception.
Writing articles every day and maintaining the integrity and safety of this site from people who would like nothing better than to silence us forever is a tough job requiring many hours of work. If you like this site, please consider making a secure donation via Paypal by clicking the yellow donation button in the upper right corner just below the search box.