April 20, 2013, New York – Today, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Executive Director Vincent Warren released the following statement in response to the news that the government had decided not to read the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings his Miranda rights before interrogating him for what is now the longest exception to date.
Our thoughts go out to the friends and families of victims of these horrific bombings. While it is difficult to turn to points of law in times of tragedy, those are, in fact, the times we most need to cling to the values, laws and rights that make us who we are as a nation.The Miranda warnings were put in place because police officers were beating and torturing "confessions" out of people who hadn't even been formally accused of a crime. We cannot afford to repeat our mistakes. If officials require suspects to incriminate themselves, they are making fair trials and due process merely option and not a requirement. To venture down that road again will make law enforcement accountable to no one.Like Obama's expanded killing program and his perpetuation of indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo, this is yet another erosion of the Constitution to lay directly at the President's feet. Obama's Justice Department unilaterally expanded the "public safety exception" to Miranda in 2010 beyond anything the Supreme Court ever authorized. Each time the administration use this exception, it stretches wider and longer. However horrific the crime, continuing to erode constitutional rights invites continued abuse by law enforcement, and walks us down a dangerous path that becomes nearly impossible to reverse.