Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bloomberg Defends Reading Miranda Rights To Shahzad

Conservatives are complaining that Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing, was read his Miranda rights. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said, "Obviously that would be a serious mistake...Don't give this guy his Miranda rights until we find out what it's all about." Representative Peter King (R-NY) warned that Mirandizing Shahzad would make it harder to get information from him. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) and the Police Department to help him devise a way to avoid giving Miranda rights to terror suspects.

First, Shahzad was not given his Miranda rights until investigators determined that there was no imminent threat to be headed off, under a public safety exception. Second, he is an American citizen; the Military Commissions Act of 2006 ruled that only non-citizens can be tried in a military commission. Third, Shahzad has reportedly admitted his role in the attempted attack and is talking to authorities. So how does McCain assert that reading Miranda rights to Shahzad is a "serious mistake"?

Mayor Bloomberg (shown above), who certainly has a stake in the safety of New York City, disputed King's warning:

I disagree with the congressman. I've always thought democracy is strong enough. There is an exemption, a public safety exemption which was used here. The police officers in the court don't have to read you your rights if they think there's information they get right away. Then they do it afterwards. In this case, that's what they did. They got some information. The guy was either read or offered to have read to him his Miranda rights and he's continued to be helpful and giving us information.

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