ACLU Demands Miranda Rights for Bombing Suspect

Sunday, 21 Apr 2013 01:05 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding that investigators read 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights.

On Friday, after Tsarnaev was captured, the Department of Justice said the Obama administration may not require the 19-year-old be read his rights, The Hill reports, saying the warning has a public safety exception.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero, though, said Saturday the threat of danger is over, and Tsarnaev, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen last Sept. 11, should be treated like any other suspect.

“Every criminal defendant is entitled to be read Miranda rights," Romero said. "The public safety exception should be read narrowly. It applies only when there is a continued threat to public safety and is not an open-ended exception to the Miranda rule."

Tsarnaev, a Chechen immigrant, and his older brother, Tamerlan, are suspected of planting pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 170, some critically.

The older brother died in a shootout with police in Watertown, Mass. early Friday morning after the brothers allegedly killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer, robbed a convenience store and carjacked a vehicle.

The younger brother remains in serious but stable condition and may face the death penalty if convicted.

Several Republicans, including Sens. John McCain, of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, as well as New York Rep. Peter Kin want the Obama administration to treat the surviving suspect as an enemy combatant rather than a criminal.

Romero, though, said that every criminal defendant has a right to be brought before a judge and be given access to legal counsel.

“We must not waver from our tried-and-true justice system, even in the most difficult of times," Romero said. "Denial of rights is un-American and will only make it harder to obtain fair convictions."

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