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Boston Bombing Suspect Is Not Being Read His Miranda Rights -- Why and What Does That Mean?


"There is a public safety exemption in cases of national security and for acts of terrorism."

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not immediately be read his Miranda rights before he is questioned by investigators, U.S. government officials confirmed to multiple news networks.

Instead, the government is invoking the "public safety" exception that can be triggered when authorities believe there is a need to protect the public from immediate danger. This means Tsarnaev can be questioned immediately without being officially warned of his right to remain silent, his right to an attorney, and the caution that anything he says can be used against him in trial.

"There is a public safety exemption in cases of national security and for acts of terrorism," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz told reporters Friday night.

The FBI has a full explainer of the public safety exception, but here's the takeaway [emphasis added]:

When police officers are confronted by a concern for public safety, Miranda warnings need not be provided prior to asking questions directed at neutralizing an imminent threat, and voluntary statements made in response to such narrowly tailored questions can be admitted at trial. Once the questions turn from those designed to resolve the concern for safety to questions designed solely to elicit incriminating statements, the questioning falls outside the scope of the exception and within the traditional rules of Miranda.

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