The Constitution applies to us all, including the Boston bombings suspect

Erwin Chemerinsky writes: On Monday morning, Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction. According to a transcript of that proceeding, a magistrate at Tsarnaev’s hospital bedside read him the Miranda warning, informing him of his right to counsel and his right to remain silent. But among the things we don’t know is if, or to what extent, Tsarnaev was interrogated before being informed of his rights.

Over the weekend, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. gave every indication that he intended to have Tsarnaev questioned without the Miranda warning. We have to hope that didn’t happen. The Constitution is not like a deck chair, to be brought out in good weather and then put away and ignored when the seas get rough. Tsarnaev is entitled to the same constitutional protections as any other criminal defendant.

The Constitution provides protections to all those accused of crime, including the privilege against self-incrimination, the right to counsel, the right to a speedy trial in front of a jury, and the right to have guilt proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

There is no exception in the Constitution, or ever recognized by the Supreme Court, for especially horrible crimes or for ones that can be labeled terrorism. [Continue reading…]

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