After the suspect in the Boston Marathon Massacre was brought to a hospital he was questioned without being advised of his rights or having an attorney present. Ostensibly the purpose of this was to get information in case the public was in danger, actually the purpose was to allow law enforcement officers the chance to get information that they otherwise might not have been entitled to.
But in the first court appearance, held at the hospital bedside of the suspect U. S. Magistrate Marianne Bowler did a simple, unremarkable and absolutely courageous and proper thing.
A federal judge decided to advise
bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of
his Miranda rights, even though investigators apparently still wanted to
question him further under a public-safety exception. Boston
The problem, so-called conservatives think that rights do not apply to everyone.
The judge's move, made on Monday in the hospital where Mr. Tsarnaev was recovering, has prompted some Republican lawmakers to press the Justice Department as to why it didn't make a stronger bid to resist the judge's plans.
Those lawmakers say Mr. Tsarnaev's interrogation should have continued without him being advised of his right to remain silent, because they say agents should have had more time to determine if there were other undetected bombs or plotters. After being read his rights, the suspect stopped talking to investigators, officials said.
Now one might think that everyone knows they have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, but this suspect appears to be so ignorant that it is possible he was unaware of his rights.
But those rights exists unconditionally, and if a person is unaware they must be made aware. Rights which can be revoked at the whim of politicians or law enforcement officers are not rights at all.
Conservatives believe that freedom is something granted to everyone, and that government’s job is not to give freedom, but to protect it. That’s great, but it would be even better if they actually believed what they have been saying.