Should suspected terrorists have Miranda rights?

So there were/are three options for dealing with the suspect who is now in custody in conjunction with the Boston bombings:
(a)  Treat him like any other individual in custody; read him his Miranda rights and then question him.
(b)  Invoke the “public safety exception” and question him.  Then, at some point, read him his rights.
(c)  Treat him like an enemy combatant and keep him him custody until the war on terror ends, as suggested today by Senators McCain and Graham.

Watch the following and share your thoughts.

16 responses to “Should suspected terrorists have Miranda rights?”

  1. natek7 says :

    I think that the suspect should have Miranda Rights. As an American who is accused of a crime he should have been read his rights. The police have already stated that the two brothers acted alone. I think it would be wrong to strip away the suspect’s rights because he might have heard of other conspiracies from his brother. Also, if the suspect’s statement is not necessary to convict him it shouldn’t matter if he choses to remain silent or if he asks for an attorney. Unless the suspect was unable to communicate he should have been read the Miranda Warning.

  2. BenLev4 says :

    I believe “public safety” should be invoked, and his rights should be delayed. Although the US government claims he is no longer dangerous, his brother may have informed him of other conspiracies against the United States, or he may have accomplices. As Senator Lindsay Graham tweeted “he could be a treasure trove of information… the last thing we may want to do is read Boston suspect [Dzhokar Tzarnev] Miranda rights telling him to ‘remain silent.'” The Department of Justice could gain critical intelligence regarding “public safety” from Tsarnev; intelligence that would be threatened if read Miranda Rights.

  3. benjamin1 says :

    It’s interesting how the government uses the idea of imminent danger in so many situations to expand it’s power and discretion. Miranda Rights are an essential part of our criminal justice system, and no accused criminal is less deserving of protection from the government than any other, regardless of their crime. A justice system cannot rely on rules that are so easily avoided by the government, especially when the government’s justification for evasion is based on ambiguity and these potential danger situations.

  4. Tanya4 says :

    I disagree with the above comment. Although Miranda warnings are an essential right that a judicial system/court system are based upon, I think there is a fundamental difference between a petty crime and an act of terror. At this point (where acts of terror are becoming more common place) the government needs to do anything and everything to ensure its peoples safety. This includes invoking the “public safety exception. ”I do think at some point he has rights, but the danger and destruction he has caused allows us suspend them indefinitely until we are sure he poses no imminent danger.

  5. govrobin1 says :

    Personally, I believe he should be read his miranda rights because they are a crucial part of our criminal justice system and we should not continue to try and avoid this step based on the conviction. First off, I have a question. Even if his miranda rights are not read to him, are they still applicable in the court of law (does he still have these rights, even if they are not dictated)? Either way, the suspect should be read his rights and then interogated. I don’t believe it would stall the interrogation either because chances are the suspect is already aware of these rights (he attended HS in massachusetts). All in all, I sincerely hope that the government gets any and all information out of the suspect to help prevent instances like this happening again, but I do believe his rights should be read to him.

  6. 4thomas says :

    I do not think terrorists have Miranda rights. They are terrorists. Citizens, even the non-law abiding bad ones, have Miranda rights, but terrorists who pose a threat to the entire nation and threat to “public safety” give up that right. These are people who want to destroy our nation and it’s people, yet we are trying to protect them with our very own judicial system. It just seems wrong, unnecessary, and unjust to give terrorists the same protection that other types of criminals have.

  7. Ryan4 says :

    If the United States identifies a suspected terrorist, I think they should be read their miranda rights. Then, I think it is still reasonable for the states to determine if said individual will be tried as an American citizen or an enemy combatant. I don’t think if they’re going to be tried as a citizen, they should, without a question, have full understanding of their civil rights, but as a suspected terrorist – it is also reasonable to think that they will be tried as an enemy combatant and eligible for consequences such as the death penalty. It really depends on how severe their actions and what has already taken place.

  8. sophiae7 says :

    I think the government was right to read him his Miranda Rights when they did. One thing that a lot of people are forgetting is that regardless of whether or not the government decided to read Dzhokar his rights, he still has them, it’s just whether or not his statements would be admissible in court. I don’t think Option C was ever a viable option. Citizens are citizens no matter what. If it was his brother was the one in question, then Option C would’ve been a “no brainer” since his brother was not an american citizen.
    It is my understanding that they invoked the “public safety exception” and read him his miranda rights a couple days into the interrogation. Hopefully they were still able to get all pertinant information even with the reading of the miranda rights.

  9. Nyle4 says :

    As an American citizen he is entitled to his Miranda warning and what information that was obtained before so can, unfortunately, not be used in a court of law. For the govt. to invoke the public safety exception, there has to be an imminent threat or proof that something bad is going to happen if he is not questioned immediately, and in my mind, the possibility of a person having vital information is a lack of knowledge and is not the same as posing an imminent threat.

  10. katiepetrino4 says :

    Though Dzhokar’s actions were obviously morally reprehensible acts of terror with tragic consequences, he’s still an American citizen. He was clearly in custody: the time when the Miranda warning must be read. Treating him as an enemy combatant was never a viable option. This was an especially surprisingly idea coming from John McCain who was tortured. Of course Dzhokar would not have been tortured on American soil, but stripping him of his rights in that way seems like an odd suggestion from a man who experienced something similar. I take issue with the public safety exception because he was already in custody and his only known accomplice, his brother, was dead. There was no evidence that more attacks were planned and invoking this exception jeopardizes any future conviction. If (when) found guilty, Dzhokar will likely appeal on the grounds that evidence was obtained illegally, or in other words, before he was read his rights. This man is obviously guilty and giving him any opportunity to reverse his conviction is dangerous.

  11. nicoleb7 says :

    In this case I think his Miranda Rights should not be read before the interrogation. Yes, they are incredibly important when it comes to dealing with people’s rights and as an American citizen some will argue that everyone accused of a crime is to be afforded the same rights. But to have a terrorist in custody and read him his rights without knowing that the country is no longer in danger seems like it would be a mistake on the government’s part. His rights should be read, but after the government is completely sure the threat to national security is no longer present. I think it is clear in this case that it is right to invoke the “public safety exception” and wait a little while.

  12. Crawford4 says :

    I think this is an acceptable use of the “public safety exception” because maybe the his plan is over and he is not involved in any more attacks on the state but he might be aware of other plans that developed when his brother was spending his time in Russia. Not to mention that this was not a crime on one person this was a crime against the United States and the safety of the rule of law and our system of government. At this point he has given up his rights. We shouldn’t even give anyone the thought that if they attack the United States and not another country they could get off easier of have a shot at the case being thrown out because our system of law punishes law enforcement in favor of criminals.

  13. sarahb7 says :

    I believe the brothers gave up their rights as US citizens when they bombed innocent people, including children, at a public event as an act of terror. Clearly our current treatment of terrorists isn’t harsh enough, given the quantity of terrorist acts committed here. Our judicial system should not be used to protect people who terrorize the country and then take up resources and time undergoing trial and being held in custody like any average criminal. They should be treated as enemy combatants, I think.

  14. Connor1 says :

    I think that history has proven that in the court of law there have been times that people who are clearly guilty of the crimes they are being tried for get off the hook because of protections that they have in the constitution, and that is the case we have here and there needs to be exceptions around this. I don’t know if i would consider this situation a war on terror, but the government needs to take precautions in the case that anything else should happen so keeping him in custody would be essential but I think in the process he should be questioned as well so that we could get to the bottom of the situation to ensure the safety of the people; that is the top priority.

  15. thetuck1 says :

    In class this year, we talked a lot about how no rights are absolute, especially with regard to the bill of rights. There are exceptions to one’s freedom of speech, right to bear arms, etc., and many of these exceptions have to do with public safety. Similarly, while criminals have rights as outlined by the 5th and 6th amendments, there will be circumstances in which those rights are not absolute. I agree with my boy T-Mart; whether or not these people are legally American citizens, they cannot be treated as people who deserve to be protected by our justice system, when their goal is to tear it, and the nation, apart by bringing harm to it.

  16. AkhilP7 says :

    Simply because we suspect someone of a terrorist attack does not mean we can infringe upon their rights. If we begin to make small distinctions like this, then there will certainly be more restrictions in the future. At that point, what value do natural rights have? We should read the Miranda rights to any suspect.

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