May 4, 2010

Constitutional Rights Are Not Negotiable

Faisal Shahzad is an American citizen of Pakistani national origin and an apparent adherent to the Muslim faith who has been arrested for suspicion of being the Times Square Almost-Bomber.

Faisal Shahzad is an American citizen who has been arrested for suspicion of a crime.

Faisal Shahzad must be read his Miranda rights.

This is not subject to question, negotiation, political expediency, attachment of labels, or any other matter of convenience.  If we dispense with Faisal Shahzad's Constitutional rights now, there will be nothing to stop the government from dispensing with your rights when you are wrongfully accused for something.

Any questions, Senator McCain?  I mean, I know you're running for re-election against a challenge from your right flank and all, but the Constitution is not a document that we ought to disregard, much less lightly.  This ought not to be subject to question, negotiation, or political discussion.

UPDATE:  But seeOrdinary Gentleman Mark Thompson is correct to point out that, if the government is certain that there is enough evidence to convict Shahzad without interrogating him at all, no Miranda warning need be given. This, however, is nothing new because Shahzad is being called a "terrorist" as opposed to a "common criminal."  Further, as I've noted elsewhere, nearly all convictions are based upon the strength of confessions, which means that Miranda or its equivalent should presumably be in play after each and every arrest effected by any U.S. law enforcement officer.

6 comments:

Libertarian Advocate said...

AGREED, without reservation!

Dinah said...
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Transplanted Lawyer said...

Post deleted for violating anti-spam policy.

zzi said...

A first-year law question.

A better question is what if the bomb exploded and killed 2000 people and the authority believe another was to go off in Manhattan. Then what?

Remind's me of this line "Because you made a phone call!"

Transplanted Lawyer said...

Yours is first-year question, too. It makes no difference whether the criminal was successful or not. The arrest is what triggers Miranda.

What is sad is that so many lawmakers do not appreciate these rudimentary concepts of law.

zzi said...

Isn't there something called the public safety exception?