What is the Public Exception and Why Didn’t Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Hear His Miranda Rights?


As American citizens, we take the reading of our Miranda Rights prior to being arrested very seriously, because failure to do so can result in an otherwise guilty person being released.

But why was it different for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on Friday night? Because his situation falls under the guidelines of a new provision the Justice Department wrote for the FBI called the “public safety exception.”

The “public safety exception” can be evoked only when interrogating a suspect that could have information that’s of urgent concern for public safety. It basically means that if he doesn’t remember his own rights when being arrested, i.e. the government will not remind him.  

On the surface it sounds reasonable enough. But, as with any scenario where the government gives itself the power to bend the rules, when it deems applicable, there are concerns.  

Namely, if the law is manipulated for terror suspect Tsarnaev, how long before it starts getting manipulated for American citizens that law enforcement determines are not allowed the same basic rights that everyone should be entitled to?

The public safety exception and the way it’s being applied selectively reminds me of another law that was passed that we were just supposed to passively accept while the government nefariously compromised even more of our personal freedoms- the Patriot Act.

Sources: Slate, Wikipedia


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