Editorial: Miranda Decision has Vast Implications

When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested, the federal officers chose not to read him his Miranda rights. This small act hurt America more than any bomb could.

There is legal justification for their decision not to Mirandize him. Under federal law, a suspect can be deprived of his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney if there’s reason to believe he still presents a threat to others. This exception to the Miranda rule stems from a case, New York v. Quarles, where a police officer asked a man in custody where his gun was. The man responded, and his response was deemed admissible in court. The difference between that Quarles and this case is that there was no credible reason to believe he had planted another bomb. They just guessed that he had, and they declined to Mirandize him. Soon after, a special “interrogation” team was brought in to coerce knowledge of these fictional bombs from him.

The federal statute allowing this is immoral and unconstitutional. The Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution clearly give Tsarnaev the right to remain silent as well as the right to an attorney.

Nowhere does the Constitution say these rights don’t apply to Muslims. Nowhere does the Constitution say these rights don’t apply to people with hard-to-pronounce names.

The ramifications of the decision are staggering. The claim that Tsarnaev could have planted more bombs was completely speculative, thus providing a legal precedent for the suspension of constitutional rights based solely on speculation.
And by speculation, we mean racism.