Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Friday wrote off the idea that people arrested by the police in the United States deserve to know their rights, and argued that a U.S. civilian should be held “as [an] enemy combatant for intelligence gathering purposes.”
As the city of Boston remained in a lockdown while police pursued a daylong manhunt for the man suspected of planting bombs at the Boston Marathon, Graham tweeted that he hoped the man, when found, would not be read his rights:
The last thing we may want to do is read Boston suspect Miranda Rights telling him to “remain silent.”
— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) April 19, 2013
Being told you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney is not a gift bestowed upon criminals by the government. As Matt Yglesias wrote here at ThinkProgress, “these are rights that criminal suspects inherently have in virtue of the American constitution. When a law enforcement officer tells someone he’s arresting that he has these rights, he’s not creating the rights, he’s informing the suspect what the situation is.”
Miranda rights are based on the fifth amendment — the right to remain silent — and the sixth, which offers guidelines on criminal prosecution. There are unusual cases where public safety concerns allow the reading of rights to be delayed, but they cannot be scrapped altogether.
Conservatives also wanted to deny Miranda rights to Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and were furious over the fact that the so-called “Underwear Bomber” was read his rights. Whether the Boston Marathon bombing suspect is read his rights or not, he does have the right to be Mirandized. Indeed, if he is not, it will only put the evidence in his eventual trial at risk.
Graham doubled down on his position after the suspect was captured on Friday night:
The Law of War allows us to hold individual in this scenario as potential enemy combatant w/o Miranda warnings or appointment of counsel.
— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) April 20, 2013
The Department of Justice, citing the public safety exemption, told CBS News that the suspect was not read Miranda rights when he was taken into custody.