Dzokhar Tsarnaev – Read Him His Rights

rightsThis is not going to be a popular post with some people.  The government has decided not to give Dzokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights or access to an attorney.  This is completely wrong.

A Justice Department official said, “The suspect is en route to the hospital for immediate treatment.  But we plan to invoke the public safety exception to Miranda in order to question the suspect extensively about other potential explosive devices or accomplices and to gain critical intelligence.”  Under this public safety exception they have 48 hours to get him before a judge, which I’ve read would end the exception.  Anything he says to them during this 48 hours can be used against him in court.

Some in Congress want the Obama administration to go even further and classify Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant, which would deny him rights and an attorney indefinitely.  This is also completely wrong.  Like it or not, Tsarnaev is a naturalized U.S. citizen who is accused of crimes committed on U.S. soil.  The crimes being heinous and terroristic don’t change the fact that they are still just that – crimes.   Citizens have rights and Tsarnaev should not be denied those rights.  It doesn’t appear he was working at the behest of any foreign government or terror organization.  If he was receiving orders or assistance from from a foreign government or a terror organization, that would change things, but for the moment that doesn’t appear to be the case. 

Let me be clear about one thing.  I am not one of these people who believe there are never exceptions to making sure people like Tsarnaev get their rights.  Using the much-used scenario, if a bomb was set to go off somewhere and only he knew where it was I’d be the first one to say strap him to a chair and do what it takes to make him talk.  But again, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I was discussing this with a friend and she asked why I’m so concerned about this guy’s rights.  I told her that I’m not, but I’m concerned with her rights and my own.  Allowing the government to pick and choose who is afforded the protections codified in the Bill of Rights is very dangerous, especially a government with people like Obama and Eric Holder making decisions.

Most people would probably scoff at my thinking, but what happens if the day comes when those in charge think gun owners are dangers to public safety and should be denied their rights?  Or Christians?  Think that can’t happen?  At a briefing given to a Pennsylvania Army Reserve unit, soldiers were told that evangelical Christians are the number one extremist threat to America – ahead of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, KKK, Nation of Islam, al-Qaida, Hamas and others.  After complaints from soldiers at the briefing the Army Chief of Chaplains said it was an isolated incident and would not happen again.

While this is not the official position of the U.S. government, clearly there are people providing training to our military who do believe it.  Do we really want there to be a public safety exception to Constitutional rights for citizens when those people are making policy? 

Dzokhar Tsarnaev should have five things coming to him – His rights as an American citizen, a speedy trial, a needle, a pine box and an unmarked grave.  Denying him the Constitutional protections that we all have is wrong and sets a dangerous precedent for the future, when the people in charge just might decide that you are a danger to the public safety for some reason. 

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2 comments to Dzokhar Tsarnaev – Read Him His Rights

  • LD Jackson

    Some people may scoff at your thinking, but not this man. Once we start down the road of not giving criminals their rights, we enable a very slippery slope. Even though Dzokhar Tsarnaev committed an act of terror, he is a citizen of the United States. Crossing that line is not a good thing to do, in my opinion.

    Great post, Charles. Would you mind if I used it as a guest post on Political Realities? It is very thought-provoking.