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Why Tsarnaev Should Be Treated Like Other Suspects in Violent Crimes

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Whether in the milder form of refusing to read Tsarnaev his Miranda rights for no good reason or in the egregious Republican form of suggesting that Tsarnaev be declared an “enemy combatant,” making exceptions for “terrorists” in custody on American soil doesn’t make any sense. At a minimum, anyone who favors exceptions to ordinary criminal procedure should explain why Tsarnaev is different than other domestic terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh or Scott Roeder:

Creating a precedent where people labeled “terrorists” are not entitled to the same treatment as other criminal suspects is particularly dangerous because it reflects the Bush administration’s belief that there’s a zero-sum tradeoff between civil liberties and public safety where terrorist acts are concerned. As Slate’s Emily Bazelon explains, this is generally a false choice. Among other things, information obtained in coerced interrogations tends to be unreliable (which is one reason the framers included a prohibition on compelled self-incrimination). There is no reason to believe that an interrogation conducted with respect for the defendant’s rights is less effective than an interrogation conducted without the Miranda warning. It’s hard to imagine that Tsarnaev, an American citizen who has presumably seen a police procedural before, would be willing to provide two day’s worth of valuable information without the Miranda warnings but would refuse to say anything if informed of them.

To illustrate the last point, consider the case of another terrorist who killed and was captured in the United States. In 2009, Scott Roeder culminated a long campaign of harassment and violence against abortion provider Dr. George Tiller and his Wichita, Kansas, clinic by murdering the doctor. Roeder was part of a movement that has committed many more acts of violence on American soil in the last 30 years than Islamic terrorists. But Roeder was read his Miranda rights in a timely manner and then given a fair trial in front of a jury of his peers. This is how it should be, and Tsarnaev should be treated in the same way. There’s no reason that acts of “terrorist” violence cannot be appropriately dealt with while adhering to both the letter and spirit of the Bill of Rights.

Among other things, the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings is an object lesson in the facts that 1)the Democratic Party isn’t good enough and 2)is so much better than the Republicans that the choice between them isn’t even agonizing. Add reasonable, moderate, thinking person’s authoritarian Michael Mukasey to those who think that Tsarnaev should be treated differently than other domestic terrorists because MUSLIM!!!!!!

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  • Another Anonymous

    Both/and, not either/or. Let the military conduct an interrogation (not “coerced” any more than normal) to investigate connections to other terror groups, if any. Then turn him over to civil authorities without sharing any results. Identifying future threats is not how police interrogation works.

    Just because Bush authorized torture shouldn’t lead us to overreact against military intel and interrogation in general. Remember that JAGs were leaders in opposing the torture program, which itself was CIA bullshit.

    • Tybalt

      I tend to the “both/and” point of view as well, with the caveat that the civil authorities who arrested him better make damned sure that any military interrogation doesn’t queer the pitch for the civilian prosecution. That means absolutely no funny stuff and an agreement on civilian oversight of the military interrogation with the ability to intercede and stop at any time. What DT is *told* in that interrogation really matters; because as much as police aren’t expert in threat assessment, military intelligence aren’t expert in criminal prosecution.

    • Since when is every terrorist act an act of war?

      We’ve gone from framers who didn’t want a standing army at all to the Posse Comitatus Act to ostensible liberals thinking its entirely normal for the military, rather than the civilian justice system, to handle any mass murder (except one conducted with guns, of course, because guns are special)?

      Seriously, this is the slippery slope in action, folks. Had this bombing happened 25 years ago, there would have been none of this crap. Ordinary custodial interrogations under Miranda, civilian trial, conviction, end of story.

      • tonycpsu

        ostensible liberals

        Who are these ostensible liberals? The people pushing for enemy combatant so far are Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Peter King, and Michael Mukasey.

        • Scott Lemieux

          According to Jeff Goldstein, all of those people are liberals!

        • efgoldman

          Will anyone ever ask these dipshits, straight out, what the fuck they are afraid of?
          Its not like they shy away from interviews or appearances on the Sunday gobshite shows.

          • tonycpsu

            Will anyone ever ask these dipshits, straight out, what the fuck they are afraid of?

            When the people asking the questions are “Dancin’ Master Disco Dave”, “Former Hanseatic League defense correspondent Bob Schieffer”, and “The Clinton Guy Shocked by Blowjobs”, I think the answer to your question is self-evident.

          • sibusisodan

            Or, failing that – for reasons already described in replies to this post – will someone ask them if they would consider emigrating to somewhere not known as the home of the brave?

        • Bill Murray

          I think Dilan was assuming Another Anonymous and Tybalt are ostensibly liberal

          • Correct

            • tonycpsu

              OK, I’m not familiar with either commenter’s body of work here, so I missed that nuance. Still, it seems like you’re overstating your case, in that I don’t think your slippery slope argument is helped much by the fact that two people who call themselves liberals have an opinion that’s pretty much anathema to a vast majority of actual liberals.

              • My point was about the effect of the slippery slope. Ideas that NOBODY believed 25 years ago, such as US military interrogation of domestic US citizen criminals, are now even being thrown about by some liberals.

                • Another Anonymous

                  25 years ago, I don’t think there was an international terrorist conspiracy to blow up Americans. 25 years ago, we still had a World Trade Center.

                  I really am having a hard time seeing the problem with (1) allowing national-security personnel to interrogate someone with suspected ties to overseas terror groups and then (2) returning the guy, after at most a month or two (do we ever get valuable intel after the first 60 days or so?), to civilian custody for prosecution, provided that (3) the former interrogation’s results aren’t provided to prosecutors or otherwise made public.

                  As someone over the weekend said (another blog maybe), there was nothing inherently wrong with the military’s wanting to interrogate Jose Padilla when he was detained; it was the length of detention, use of torture, and intent to prosecute him in a military tribunal that were obnoxious.

                • 1. You have overstated the terrorism problem.

                  2. You have understated the effectiveness of traditional law enforcement.

                  3. You have missed, and demonstrated, my point. Ideas that started off being implemented with Bin Laden have now migrated into domestic murders by US citizens. There are good reasons why we don’t want to militarize domestic law enforcement. Everyone, left, right, and center, understood them 25 years ago. Now we have conditioned a whole bunch of people to forget those reasons.

                • Another Anonymous

                  I don’t think I called for “militarizing domestic law enforcement.” I didn’t suggest ANY military role in domestic law enforcement. I said, it would be okay by me if the military wanted to interrogate the dude before he was prosecuted, provided there’s a wall of separation between intel gained by the military & the prosecutors.

                  If my argument has to be misrepresented to be attacked, then maybe it’s better than it seemed.

                • The military has no freestanding interrogation power. Indeed, the military is prohibited by law from doing domestic law enforcement.

                  When a US citizen is arrested in the United States for murdering people in the United States, that is simply not an act of war. It’s a crime. The military has no role in the apprehension, detention, interrogation, or prosecution of ordinary criminals.

                  Indeed, the entire problem with this “military” mindset is that we are basically saying that the executive branch can suspend the protections of the Constitution (which include the right to be told of charges within 48 hours of arrest, see County of Riverside v. McLaughlin) by its own say-so that someone is some form of “international” terrorist.

                  That argument was a complete non-starter 25 years ago, or 125 years ago, or 225 years ago. “No military role in law enforcement” includes “no military interrogation of criminal suspects” and “no suspension of McLaughlin while military interrogators detain criminal suspects”.

                • joe from Lowell

                  Well, Dilan, we are currently at war with al Qaeda, so I could a legitimate interest in the military questioning an al Qaeda-linked figure.

                  But there’s no reason to believe that’s what we’ve got here. As you say, the military doesn’t become relevant because someone who goes to a mosque plants a bomb.

                • joe from Lowell

                  I could see, that is.

                • Joe:

                  You are, in one sense, drawing a reasonable distinction. Of course the AUMF does apply to “Al Qaeda” (I will save the debate as to what that organization encompasses for another time), so yeah, you can make a legal justification for military involvement in the apprehension and detention of a suspected Al Qaeda member.

                  But in many ways, my point is a slippery slope one. The reality is other than the military action against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, we shouldn’t have gone down the road of “enemy combatants” at all. People who murder Americans in the US are criminals. They always have been. And they always will be. And we have a criminal justice system that works very well while also affording suspects basic rights which are very important.

                  Once you start saying “there’s this parallel system where the President can, on his or her own say-so and with no evidentiary showing to any neutral decisionmaker, detain criminal suspects indefinitely and incommunicado and strip them of all their criminal procedure rights”, there is going to be the temptation to expand that system, to use it in more and more cases, and to draw analogies to justify its expansion. That’s the slippery slope. Justice Jackson’s dissent in Korematsu got this issue right– that military detention is like a loaded weapon that can be picked up at any time.

                  So while you are right that it is possible to draw a legal distinction, due to the AUMF, between an Al Qaeda terrorist and some other form of terrorist, the best policy is that American citizens who murder people in America get treated as the criminals they are, and that there isn’t even the thought that the President can start unilaterally stripping people of their constitutional rights without any sort of judicial review.

                • I should have made one more point there. The Bush Administration’s experience shows that once you get rid of that principle that charging and detention decisions are subject to judicial supervision, the likelihood of imprisoning innocent people increases exponentially. A LOT of people who were not terrorists got designated enemy combatants and held for months or years before release.

                  That’s the ultimate danger of this parallel system. Sure, it seems really easy to say that someone like Tsnarnaev is a terrorist and can be subjected to some sort of military detention, but it’s also really easy for the judicial system to rule that probable cause exists for his arrest and detention. The difference is, it’s far harder for the latter power to be abused.

    • joe from Lowell

      Let the military conduct an interrogation (not “coerced” any more than normal) to investigate connections to other terror groups, if any.

      I don’t get it. Why would military investigators do a better job than the FBI? This is what the FBI does for a living.

      When they wanted someone to interrogate Saddam, who was in military custody, you know who they brought it? An FBI interrogator. After a few weeks, Saddam was reading the guy his poetry and expounding on his innermost thoughts.

      • Another Anonymous

        You may have a point there. If in practice the FBI can handle it, great; unlike Graham & McCain, I’m not getting a woody from thinking of this guy in military custody.

        I would have thought however that the FBI are still cops, i.e. focused on building cases 1st & foremost, and I dunno how access to intel about, say, Chechen Islamist groups and their ties to the al-Qaeda franchise, is distributed in our family of bureaucracies.

  • Tybalt

    My primary concern isn’t with treating different suspects differently (although that’s a bad result) but with the decision procedurally. As you correctly identified, no one remains mute in the face of questioning just because he had a Miranda warning. And despite the existence of the Public Safety Exemption, there is a significant risk that you might lose volunteered testimony as a result because there is no guarantee that a clear-thinking judge is going to agree that the PSE applies in any particular circumstance to any particular statement.

    Because nobody ever clams up just from the Miranda warning, there is in fact no strategic advantage you gain from not Mirandizing that you can’t gain simply from denying him counsel; although I don’t support that either, obviously, the failure to properly Mirandize him is just a wilful error in judgment done for PR purposes presumably.

    • Kurzleg

      Assuming DT is provided counsel in a timely manner, wouldn’t a nineteen year old be likely to listen to counsel if he/she tells him to remain silent? (I assume that’s what counsel would tell him.)

      • Bill Murray

        teenagers listening to an authority figure? Is the spirit of rock and roll finally dead?

      • Tybalt

        Right. That’s why I identify the mistake with the failure to provide a Miranda warning, as opposed to failure to activate the rights. There’s nothing you gain with dispensing with a warning; you can give the warning and put off the decision about how badly you want him talking right now, when he asks for counsel.

        • Tybalt

          that should end “right now, to if/when he asks for counsel.”

  • rea

    It’s symptomatic of how much politcal bs surrounds this that there was a media issue about reading him his Miranda rights before he regained consciousness. Reports now are that he’s conscious, but can’t talk, and may never be able to talk. He can communicate in some degree in writing–not clear how much. Republican congresspeople talking in the media about the need for quickly interrogating him are fools.

    • DrDick

      Republican congresspeople talking in the media about the need for quickly interrogating him are fools.

      FTFY

  • You’re suggesting that the Justice Department is making up new law, or adapting post-9/11 laws, to deal with Tsarnaev. But it’s well established that you don’t need to read *anybody* their Miranda rights *ever*, if you accept that anything they say without a Miranda warning is inadmissible in court. And the “public safety exception”, which does allow pre-Miranda statements, has been accepted by the courts and is nearly 30 years old.

    • Scott Lemieux

      You may wish to read the post under discussion prior to commenting.

      • I did! Let’s start with the title: “Why Tsarnaev Should Be Treated Like Other Suspects in Violent Crimes” … he is being treated exactly like other such cases. Here is the case that affirmed the public safety exception to Miranda, and here is a recent case affirming that law enforcement personnel can question suspects outside Miranda. In both cases, the suspects were violent, petty criminals.

        • Anonymous

          … he is being treated exactly like other such cases.

          Indeed. Note that the post is arguing he should continued to be treated in this way, against the assertions to the contrary of prominent Republican politicians.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Let’s start with the title

          And end! No wonder you’re embarrassing yourself here.

          he is being treated exactly like other such cases. Here is the case that affirmed the public safety exception to Miranda, and here is a recent case affirming that law enforcement personnel can question suspects outside Miranda.

          Had you read past the title — perhaps, hell, clicked the link to the lengthy column where I lay out my position — you would have noticed the extensive discussion of the former case, as well as an explanation for why the “emergency” exception asserted in this case would go well beyond that.

  • It is shocking that this discussion even has to occur. I wonder if the ACLU has standing to seek an injunction on his behalf– compelling the appointment of counsel, and halting any interrogation until he has spoken with a lawyer. 225 years of constitutional jurisprudence flies out the window, and Massachusetts is where it is happening?

    • Just Dropping By

      Nitpick: The right to have an attorney present at your questioning (as contrasted with trial) as a matter of federal constitutional jurisprudence is less than 50 years old, IIRC.

    • Richard

      No. The ACLU has no standing to come into the case unless they can show that he wants to retain them as counsel. No group of lawyers has standing unless they can show that he wants to appoint him and no court is going to interfere with questioning going on.
      But the claim that questioning him throws out 225 years of constitutional jurisprudence is, to say the least, inaccurate. The public safety exception to the Miranda rule is thirty years old and even Miranda is a relatively recent holding (as is Gideon). That said, they should just Mirandize him and get counsel appointed like in any other murder case. If he is talking now, he isn’t going to stop talking once he hears the Miranda words.

      • Pardon my hyperbole.

        • Richard

          You’re pardoned. But we are basically in agreement – just give him the Miranda warnings and go forward. The warnings are not going to effect whether he talks or not. If he’s not going to talk, that is his right. If he chooses to waive his right against self-incrimination and talk, thats also his right. Hearing the Miranda words isn’t going to change anything. He’s already made up his mind whether he’s going to talk or not.

          • joe from Lowell

            He’s already made up his mind whether he’s going to talk or not.

            A determination that a skilled interrogator will be able to blow through by lunchtime, since we’re talking about a 19 year old kid who’s a follower, not some hardened operative who trained at bin Laden’s camps.

            And reading him his Miranda rights certainly isn’t going to make a difference.

            • CJColucci

              To repeat what I said on the last thread, we’re likely to be trying very hard to get him to talk, if he ever speaks again. While it’s likely we will not waterboard him, I suspect that every non-obvious coercive trick in the book is going to be used.
              That’s why Miranda is good for the cops rather than the crooks. Let them sprinkle the magic fairy dust around and they’ll be able to get away with a lot of subtle coercive stuff that otherwise might have to be looked at more closely than the authorities want it looked at.

  • I was wondering when someone was going to fatuously invoke the original Tamerlane to make these idiots seem more dangerous than they are/were, I just didn’t think it’d be a former Attorney General on the pages of the Wall Street Journal. How naive I was.

    • Mike Schilling

      And don’t get me started on Dolph Lundgren.

    • chris

      Michael Mukasey is named for an archangel, but you sure wouldn’t know it from this column.

      • Another Anonymous

        The Archangel Mukasey is kind of a bumbling good-for-nothing in the apocryphal literature I’ve read, so yeah, the namesake works out pretty well.

  • One of the Blue

    There was a lot of media talk last week and over the weekend of attempts to track down any conspiratorial connections that the Tsarnaev brothers might have had, though to date zero evidence seems to have emerged that they had any such connections at all.

    Does anyone else recall that when Tim McVeigh was caught there seemed to be considerable reluctance on the part of media and authorities both to speculate on or consider a wider conspiracy in his case.

    Seems to me any time a white Christian American does something like this, he’s defined as a lone actor. When a Muslim does something like this, it’s automatically a “terrorist plot.”

    • JKTHs

      Well, terrorism can be a slippery term to define but post-9/11 it is much more comfortably used when a Muslim is involved.

      • One of the Blue

        I think it started well before 9-11. If I recall correctly an Arab guy was the first one targeted for suspicion after OK City.

        • Definitely. I remember watching the first breathless reports, and the TV people were speculating that this was scary Muslims targeting the “heartland” to really bring terror home to Ma and Pa America. To be fair, that was only two years after the first WTC attack, but it was 100% pure speculation, and it was fairly widespread.

        • JKTHs

          Well as a young’un I’m not all that aware of what attitudes were like pre-9/11 but I’m sure they existed. I’m saying more that that’s especially the case post and probably more accurately post the first WTC bombing

    • Not just a “terrorist plot” but part of some “worldwide jihadist movement”.

      Which gives us an excuse to attack anyone, anywhere anytime.

      How convenient.

      • DrDick

        And oddly one which is never applied to our far more numerous rightwing Christian conservative terrorists, who are always “lone wolves.”

        • joe from Lowell

          Interestingly, neo-Nazi terrorists are not described as lone-wolves, but are assumed to be part of an organization.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Kristen Powers was on Twitter last week explaining that all anti-abortion terrorism was the result of lone wackos.

      • BigHank53

        It’s the easiest thing in the world to disown or deny terrorism that furthers your own goals.

      • DrDick

        Yeah, I will take these whackaloons seriously when they apply this same logic to all the rightwing terrorists in this country (especially the radical antiabortion crowd).

      • witless chum

        Fuckhead the Atlanta bomber totally survived in the woods for a goddamn decade by himself with no help from anyone else. I totally believe that. I also believe Peter King could be trusted alone with a donkey.

        Honestly, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if these dudes were more along the lines of Roeder, Rudolph, McVey, etc. in that they were inspired by the a wider movement, but came up with the plots themselves or had minimal help. The Dread Pirate Marcotte has often pointed out that the main reason Operation Rescue, etc., doens’t get its hands dirty is that they don’t have to. They can just sit back and yell about how abortion is murder, secure in the knowledge that people with violent tendencies will be inspired to act on it. If this is a Jihad thing, that could be inspired the same way.

        • “The Dread Pirate Marcotte”

          Totally stealing that.

        • One of the Blue

          Yeah, and Atlanta bombing it took them years to get around to tagging Rudolph. Instead they zeroed in on that poor rent-a-cop who was just trying to help people.

          Good thing for the rent-a-cop he wasn’t an Arab. Probably be sitting at SuperMax today if he was.

    • chris

      “We” are individuals who have different plans and goals; “They” are a faceless horde who must always be suspected of conspiring against “Us”. This kind of thinking (if you want to dignify it with that term) is so widespread it’s probably literally in our DNA.

      The suspects’ uncle (whose name I don’t remember) may have done something against this idea, but I doubt if it will be enough.

    • joe from Lowell

      Does anyone else recall that when Tim McVeigh was caught there seemed to be considerable reluctance on the part of media and authorities both to speculate on or consider a wider conspiracy in his case.

      No, I don’t recall that at all. I recall exactly the opposite – the assumption was a very large, possibly international conspiracy. A Syrian was seen leaving the city, and Saddam wants to steal Laurie Mylroie’s car keys.

      • T. Paine

        Or some guy who looked Saddam!

        At least, he had two eyes. And a nose. Maybe a mouth.

  • mds

    At a minimum, anyone who favors exceptions to ordinary criminal procedure should explain why Tsarnaev is different than other domestic terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh or Scott Roeder

    Or James Holmes. It’s not too late for Grandpa Walnuts and Huckleberry Graham to grandstand about getting him into a military brig tout de suite. Hell, Eric Rudolph is still available, livin’ large at taxpayer expense in ADX Florence, which is apparently indistinguishable from a resort hotel. It certainly is inadequate to contain a murderous terrorist like him. I’m sure Li’l’ Lindsey would be proud to announce to his constituents that Eric Rudolph should be classified as an enemy combatant.

    • dre

      Mds,

      You obviously have no idea what ADX Florence Supermax is all about. Sure it’s a waste of taxpayer money, but I think that is perfect lifetime punishment for this scum. Complete isolation from everybody, to include family and other inmates for the rest of his life…and he’s only 19. This clean hell is far worse than a death penalty. No doubt he will develop some type of mental illness which by the way will not exclude him from serving out the rest of his days in ADX Florence.

      Look up the punishment administered in ADX Florence and then decide, because it’s hardly a “resort hotel”.

  • Anon21

    This cultural argument is much better than your (misguided) legal argument from earlier posts. Basically, there is no reason to treat him as if he’s a Supervillain when he’s really just a particularly violent criminal. Doing so sends a lot of bad messages, one of which is that our existing investigatory and prosecutorial apparatus isn’t capable of dealing with really serious crimes.

    • Scott Lemieux

      your (misguided) legal argument from earlier posts.

      I assume that, like, Joe, you’re referring to the imaginary one I didn’t actually make?

      • Anon21

        In response to the question: However, where do you locate the right against coercive interrogation that doesn’t result in the admission of incriminating statements derived from said interrogation?

        You responded with a question of your own: What do you think the Fifth Amendment was intended to accomplish?

        Maybe in true Socratic fashion you were just pushing to get the poster to explain the incorrect premise of your question, but if not… there’s your misguided legal argument.

        • Anon21

          Sorry, I should have also recalled that you went on to say:

          Again, what do you think the prohibition against compelled self-incrimination is intended to accomplish? Are you seriously arguing that it reflects indifference about coercive interrogations and is just a sort of random ipse dixit?

          I mean, phrasing everything in the form of a question does preserve a bit of plausible deniability, but one would be hard-pressed to come away from that thread without concluding that you were laboring under the misconception that the Self-Incrimination Clause or Miranda forbids coerced interrogations qua coerced interrogations.

          • Scott Lemieux

            but one would be hard-pressed to come away from that thread without concluding that you were laboring under the misconception that the Self-Incrimination Clause or Miranda forbids coerced interrogations qua coerced interrogations.

            If you were determined to misread the argument and also ignored the text of the post, I suppose.

            • Anon21

              The argument in the comments was clear enough, and wrong enough. I agree that it contradicts the post, but it just seemed inconsistent to me, not less wrong.

              • Scott Lemieux

                It doesn’t contradict the post. Arguing that the Fifth Amendment and the Miranda rule do not reflect a neutral position on coercive interrogations does not constitute an argument that Miranda provides a remedy for a coercive interrogation other than making coerced testimony inadmissible.

                • Anon21

                  Yes, but you were responding to posts that questioned where a right against coercive interrogations not resulting in the admission of any statement against the suspect could be found in the Fifth Amendment or Miranda. Rather than explaining that no rights were at stake in such a scenario, only norms (or the spirit of Miranda, as you refer to it in the post), you proceeded to mock the idea that there is no right to be free of coercive interrogations.

                • Anonymous

                  That’s a pretty long way from your initial “wrong about the law” claim, Anon21.

                • Anon21

                  No, it isn’t. Again, the clear implication of his posts was that there actually is a right under the Self-Incrimination Clause and/or Miranda not to be subjected to coercive interrogation. That’s wrong. Only if you pretend that questions can never embed a premise can you say he wasn’t wrong on the law.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  If you ignore crucial parts of the posts, such as “It is true that, in a narrow sense, the federal government is free under Miranda to interrogate Tsarnaev without informing him of his rights if it believes it has enough independent evidence to convict him.”

                  Obviously, the Fifth Amendment is premised on the underlying principle that coercive interrogations are bad. This is not precisely the same thing as saying that it creates a right not to be coercively interrogated per se. The fact that this distinction is too subtle for you is not my problem.

                • rea

                  You know, the basic premise of Miranda is that ALL custodial interrogation is coercive . . .

                  So whatever else Miranda is, it is not a remedy against coercive interrogation.

  • retr2327

    Of course, everyone knows that Arab countries, such as Egypt, for example, simply don’t have our rich heritage of respect for individual rights and a scrupulously impartial judicial system. So it’s easy to understand why an Egyptian security chief can be quoted in the NYT today expressing astonishment at the concept that human rights could apply to an individual with a Molotov cocktail or a gun in his hands; in his mind, those rights only apply to law-abiding (and dutifully obedient, no doubt) citizens.

    It is, of course, inconceiveable that any U.S Senator would ever express such a similar misunderstanding of what justice requires . . .

  • tonycpsu

    White House: Suspect ‘Will Not Be Treated As An Enemy Combatant’

    “He will not be treated as an enemy combatant,” Carney said. “We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice. Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions.”

    Suck it, Huckleberry and friends.

  • blondie

    The idea that this defendant should be treated differently, in terms of who conducts the trial, what rights he “gets,” etc., from other terrorists like McVeigh, Eric Rudolph, or the Unibomber, to name just a few, astounds me. What’s the difference among them, other than race/national origin/religion?

    Somebody above mentioned how it’s all different “now.” The World Trade Center was first bombed 20 years ago. Even the first “Back to the Future” movie featured terrorists who were apparently not U.S. citizens (Libyans, I believe?). There has been international terrorism for decades and decades, Remember Carlos the Jackal, the 1972 Olympics?

    The world has not changed. We have. And for the worse.

  • Unhinged Liberal

    What’s the difference among them, other than race/national origin/religion?

    Totally agree.

    He should get the death penalty…and I believe he will.

    Congress had passes laws that include it, SCOTUS has approved it.

    And if this case doesn’t warrant it, what would?

    • joe from Lowell

      I bet he doesn’t get the death penalty. The older brother would have if he’d survived, but between his age, his obvious sidekick status, and his probable cooperation with the authorities, they’ll probably show him mercy.

      • rea

        And this is where Miranda and Gideon are actually kind of useful to the authorities. If we want to know whatever it is that this kid knows, get him a lawyer, who will instantly appreciate that the only possible deal is “tell us everything you know, and we won’t kill you.”

        • Malaclypse

          I, for one, am stunned that Jennie has made a prediction ungrounded in either facts or logic.

  • Warren Terra

    The New York Times has a transcript of Tsarnaev’s appearance before a judge today. We can question what happened in any periods of lucidity over the last 72 hours (and especially the last day or so, when doctors were saying he was conscious), but he’s in a civilian trial, he’s got counsel, and he has been thoroughly Mirandized by a federal judge (I’m not clear when he was first Mirandized). All of this is as it should be (some of it might have been faster), and indeed none of this should be remarkable.

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