Why the bombing suspect wasn’t read his Miranda Rights

Law enforcement invoked the public safety exception when arresting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Topics: Miranda Rights, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Boston Bombings, justice department, Boston,

Why the bombing suspect wasn't read his Miranda RightsBoston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Credit: FBI)

One of the big questions surrounding the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bombing suspect, is why law enforcement officials did not read him his Miranda Rights. The Justice Department cited the public safety exception, which allows law enforcement to temporarily question a suspect before reading the Miranda Rights, if there is an “objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger,” according to the FBI website.

In this case, the Justice Department said it invoked the exception “in order to question the suspect extensively about other potential explosive devices or accomplices and to gain critical intelligence,” according to an official who spoke with TPM.

The Wall Street Journal explains the background:

It stems from a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court case (New York v. Quarles) involving a Queens man charged with criminal gun possession. A witness told police the man raped her and had a gun. When they found him at an A&P supermarket, he had an empty shoulder holster. An officer, after handcuffing him, asked him where the gun was. The man gestured toward a stack of liquid-soap cartons, where police found a loaded revolver.

Lower courts tossed the evidence because the man was wasn’t read his rights before handcuffed and questioned. The Supreme Court disagreed, articulating a ‘public safety’ exception.



Despite what Lindsey Graham may want, though, the public safety exception is only temporary:

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    "Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)

    "Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)

    The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>