Hard cases make bad law

The “to Miranda or not to Miranda [the Boston bomber], that is the question” debates have been raging across the Internet ever since Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured alive in Watertown.  As a legal matter, you don’t ever really need to read a suspect his Miranda rights; you only need to do that if you want to introduce evidence from the questioning at trial.  (The “public safety exception” does permit the introduction of evidence obtained without a Miranda warning, and, of course, you’ll eventually need to provide counsel to the defendant at any “critical stage.”)  Given that the forensics unit spent a week combing Copley Square for debris, that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev allegedly confessed to the bombing to the man whose car was car-jacked, and that bombs and other explosives were found in his apartment, the federal government probably has more than enough evidence to convict this loser, with or without post-capture admissions.  (That the guy threw explosives at the cops and ran over his own brother only adds to the fun evidence to introduce at trial.)

But this gets even more fun.  According to WCVB, the brothers were planning on blowing up Times Square.  Those plans were derailed when the carjacked vehicle ran low on gas.  Adding to the “hard cases make bad law,” the much-debated lockdown in the suburbs, and the shut down of Boston, make more sense when you’re trying to capture losers who blew up a marathon and now want to blow up Times Square.  Suddenly, the desire to get these people now is a lot more justifiable – although concerns about turning America into a police state are no less justifiable.


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