No Miranda rights for Boston suspect sparks debate


This image released by the FBI on April 19, 2013, shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who has been been convicted and sentenced to death for his role in Boston Marathon bombing.



Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is likely being questioned without having heard his Miranda rights following his arrest last night.

And that's not sitting well with some Democrats and legal experts.

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The Justice Department says it's invoking a "public safety exception" in not reading the 19-year-old Tsarnaev his rights, saying there's a need to protect the police or public from imminent danger.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham led the charge against reading Tsarnaev his rights and went a step further, urging the Obama administration to treat him as an enemy combatant in a series of tweets.

"The last thing we may want to do is read Boston suspect Miranda Rights telling him to 'remain silent,'" Graham tweeted. "It is vital he be questioned for intelligence gathering purposes about possible future plots."

Both Graham and Arizona Sen. John McCain said Saturday in a joint statement they want Tsarnaev to be sent to Guantanamo Bay detainee prison in Cuba instead of standing trial in federal court.

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A prominent legal expert and Harvard law professor scoffed at the senators' argument.

"Impossible. There's no way an American citizen committing a domestic crime in the city of Boston could be tried as an enemy combatant," Alan Dershowitz told CNN's Piers Morgan. "It could never happen. And that shows absolute ignorance of the law."

Others worried not reading Tsarnaev his rights could jeopardize the case against him.

Slate's Emily Bazelon suggested "bending the law" for Tsarnaev will make it easier for authorities to bend the Miranda rights of other US citizens.

Further, any information obtained from Tsarnaev before he's been read his rights can't be used in court. As Agence France-Presse writes:

"If prosecutors want to use what a suspect says in police custody at trial, they must prove the individual was informed of his or her Miranda rights, understood them and voluntarily waived them."