You can’t control judges


Judge Made Call to Advise Suspect of Rights

FBI Wanted to Question Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Further Under Public-Safety Exception

A federal judge decided to advise Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of his Miranda rights, even though investigators apparently still wanted to question him further under a public-safety exception.

The judge’s move, made on Monday in the hospital where Mr. Tsarnaev was recovering, has prompted some Republican lawmakers to press the Justice Department as to why it didn’t make a stronger bid to resist the judge’s plans.

Those lawmakers say Mr. Tsarnaev’s interrogation should have continued without him being advised of his right to remain silent, because they say agents should have had more time to determine if there were other undetected bombs or plotters. After being read his rights, the suspect stopped talking to investigators, officials said.

“There will be more instances like this, and we will need to have a much better understanding about what is appropriate,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) said in an interview Thursday. “We have a long-standing tradition that the judiciary does not interfere with investigations. This sets a very dangerous precedent.”

More at the link.

There had been plenty of public speculation that Mr Tsarnaev would not be “Mirandized,” in the hope that such would enable interrogators to glean more information concern that after he was advised that he had the right to remain silent. Now he knows — although you’d have thought he’d have known it before — that if he talks, anything he says can be used against him.

I didn’t see a lot of reason for the hubbub about when Mt Tsarnaev would be Mirandized. Under the law, anything interrogators got from him prior to the Miranda warnings could not be used against him in court, but I always had doubts that Mr Tsarnaev had much valuable information. The bombs used were crude, with what was apparently off-the-internet designs, and the attacks, as harmful as they were, were still obviously amateurish: the Tsarnaevs were not suicide bombers, but seem to have given little thought as to how to have made their escape. A car, parked eight blocks away, with a full fuel tank, plenty of cash in their pockets, and camping gear in the trunk, and they’d never have been caught: they could have been in Maine in a couple of hours, and you can get lost very easily in upstate Maine; crossing into Canada would have been simple as well.

The Tsarnaevs’ actions bore none of the signs of being well-planned, and thus none of the signs which would indicate coordination with a wider circle of terrorists. And once the Tsarnaevs were publicly identified, any fellow conspirators or terror circle members they knew would have gone quickly to ground.

Whether I am right about that or not, it didn’t matter: the public discussion about when the younger Mr Tsarnaev would be Mirandized almost surely was known to the judge, and he took matters into his own hands. The FBI and the Justice Department don’t exercise control over judges, and this judge did as he thought best.

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