As I sit here writing what should be a wholly unnecessary post, the Boston Marathon bomber has been captured about three miles away, in Watertown.
So why is this post necessary? Because people who can't even find Chechnya on a map are suddenly law enforcement experts nattering on about this kid's rights being taken away. An attack on civil liberties. The cops didn't read the bomber his rights, you see.
If this is you, shut your mouth, go sit in the corner and listen. The adults are talking.
Your rights aren't magically non-existent because they were not read out loud immediately. That's just something crazy people repeat after Fox News tells them it is so. It is not so. If circumstance leads to Miranda rights not being read, that in no way equates to those rights vanishing. You still HAVE the rights. You know what you also have the right to do? Go cheer on the runners in a marathon without being blown up.
If you're arrested and no one reads your rights, it means one thing only: the prosecutor cannot use anything you say against you in a court of law. That's it. If any concern is due over the lack of Mirandizing here (and I do not happen to think any is due) it should be because of this scenario: HAD the killer confessed, it wouldn't be admissible as evidence. This is the kind of technicality that compromises the outcome of a trial. Everyone knows that if he gets off on a technicality he cannot be re-tried under double-jeopardy, so if anything, that would be the only reason to bitch about Miranda here.
He could have yelled "I bombed the race!" and that confession would not be admissible in court. If there wasn't enough other evidentiary support and the confession was all they had, it's possible that he'd be set free. Understand? Kid wasn't informed that he had the right to remain silent, because there was a lot going on in that moment.
However, that's not even the crucial matter here. What's more important is that there is allowance in the Miranda warning about when it's acceptable to skip it. In Legalese:
The public safety exception permits law enforcement officials to engage in a limited and focused unwarned interrogation of a suspect and allows the government to introduce the statement as evidence in court. The public safety exception is triggered when police officers have an objectively reasonable need to protect the police or the public from immediate danger.You can't hide in a crowd if there is no crowd. The cops found the killer hiding under a tarp that was covering a boat in someone's yard during a shut-down of the whole city here. We couldn't leave our houses, get it? That's what they mean by "an objectively reasonable need to protect" everyone from danger.
Also of note: don't fuck with Boston law enforcement, they will shut down the whole city to find you. Period. ∎