When you are arrested and taken into custody by a law enforcement officer, the Courts are your last safeguard with regard to your rights. The Court applies the law and the Constitution and examines everything with regard to the crime of which you are accused, being not only the factfinder, but also making sure the government, by way of the law enforcement officer, acted appropriately within the bounds of the Constitution and any applicable laws at every step of the investigation, including the arrest and detention of the accused.
While some could say the government has no obligation to inform you of your rights, the government does have to respect them. Informing you of your rights is the government’s way of acknowledging those rights and remaining in check with respect to your rights.
No one screamed about Timothy McVeigh being Mirandized, and with 160 dead because of him, I think we can all say he was a domestic terrorist who also happened to be a citizen of the United States. The same with John Allen Muhammad, the “DC sniper”. I think we can all agree he was a terrorist as well. Both McVeigh and Muhammad were also military veterans.
When did we suddenly draw the line by saying that US citizens who want to kill a large number of people no longer have their rights? Yes it is certainly alarming that someone would want to kill a large number of people, but there are scumbags out there. There are insane people out there who care for nothing except their frag count, and some of them are US citizens.
Should we now start drawing the line with serial murderers and serial rapists? What about child molesters since we can say they terrorize children and families with children? Should they not be Mirandized either? Many would probably say yes, but the question to ask in that instance is why they should not be Mirandized.
Why are we now saying that terrorists shouldn’t be Mirandized? When did we draw that line? Because the person might have information? So do a lot of people who are arrested — drug dealers can give names of their suppliers, serial murderers can tell you if there are more bodies than you’ve so far discovered, serial rapists and child molesters can tell you if there are more victims than you’ve discovered. We don’t withhold Miranda from them.
When we start drawing lines on who should not be informed of their rights, pretty soon the number of people who are informed of their rights becomes a minority. This should not even be up for question: Mirandize everyone who is apprehended by civilian law enforcement, citizen or not, regardless of why they are being arrested.
Please read my follow-up to this article regarding events surrounding the Boston Marathon.