Well, the Boston Marathon tragedy has been brought to a swift conclusion and congratulations to the Boston area law enforcement and first responders for handling the job so well. Now all that is left is the chirping of the news readers and their experts as I try not to puke every time I hear the phrase “Mirandizing.” They all seem to think that not reading the second bomber his “Miranda rights” means something. Well, it doesn’t and I’ll tell you why.
Go back to the original Miranda vs Arizona and see why that case even came before the Supreme Court. The defense claimed that because Miranda was ignorant of his rights, his confession without counsel was inadmissible in court. The Warren court agreed 5-4. They then concocted the whole “Miranda Rights” spiel that anyone who ever watched Jack Webb in Dragnet knows by heart:
You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you desire but cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights?
That’s it. That’s all Miranda is about. It is nothing more than a CYA for law enforcement. Is that a bad thing? No, it means that everyone on both sides of the legal process has an understanding.
There is a saying about “ignorance of the law is no defense” when those laws are broken. By the same token, ignorance of one’s rights does not mean that those rights don’t exist. You still have the right to counsel and a right against self-incrimination whether you are read your “Miranda rights” or not. This has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. So, when questioned, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is perfectly within his rights to decline to say anything to law enforcement and demand an attorney. He is a naturalized American citizen and has all the constitutional rights any American enjoys. “Mirandizing” him adds nothing to that and I wish the government officials and so-called experts would smarten up and say that.