‘Disgraceful’ decision to end Boston suspect’s interrogation, GOP lawmaker says
April 28th, 2013
03:27 PM ET
8 years ago

‘Disgraceful’ decision to end Boston suspect’s interrogation, GOP lawmaker says

(CNN) - The decision to read Miranda rights to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the midst of an interrogation was called “disgraceful” Sunday by a leading Republican, who took aim at U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for not opposing the decision.

U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, told CNN he “totally disagreed” with the decision of a magistrate judge to administer the rights during a hearing last Monday, more than two days after Tsarnaev was captured in Watertown, Massachusetts. On Saturday, Holder told CNN the move was “totally consistent” and appropriate.

“This was not required by American law,” King said. “The fact is the FBI was only 16 hours into an interrogation. They had already gotten some significant information, but much more was still not there. Who else was involved? What was his mother's role? Did his father have any role? Where did the radicalization start? How did it start? Are there any other conspirators out there? Who was part of it? Who assisted him in any way?”

When he was first captured, Tsarnaev wasn’t immediately read his Miranda warnings, which advise criminal suspects of their constitutional rights of remaining silent, access to an attorney regardless of financial circumstances, and the warning that any statements can be used to aid their prosecution.

The government was able to delay the reading by using the “public safety” exception, which allows for limited questioning by law enforcement of a suspect to determine if there as imminent danger to the public of attack.

The weekend interrogation period from Saturday evening into Monday morning was 16 hours, but questioning was off and on because of the suspect's medical condition, according to a government source.

Since being read his rights, which came the day after charges were formally filed against him, Tsarnaev has not answered "substantive" questions from investigators about his alleged operational role in the attack, sources have indicated.

King said the silence following the reading of the Miranda rights was a major problem.

“It is the matter of life and death. I don't know of any case law which says that magistrate has a right to come in to a hospital room and stop an interrogation,” King said. “And I don't know why the attorney general of the United States consented to that.”

When asked about the timing of the Miranda rights, Holder told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Saturday night that the decision, made by the magistrate, was “totally consistent with the laws that we have.”

"We have a two-day period to question him under the 'public safety' exception. So I think everything was done appropriately, and we got good leads,” he said.

Holder has been asked to explain the decision to allow a magistrate judge into the hospital room by Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

"Specifically, I would like more information as to who determined that the proceedings would occur at that specific time and place while questioning was still ongoing," Rogers wrote in a letter dated April 24.

On Sunday, another Republican, Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana, argued the public safety exception should have been prolonged to gather more information from the suspect.

"I was very surprised that they moved as quickly as they did," Coats, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union.” "We had, I think, legal reasons and follow-up investigative reasons to drag this out a little bit longer. We could have done that."

CNN’s Bill Mears, Nunu Japaridze and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Boston Marathon bombing • Peter King
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Name Uche Agonsi

    Maybe SB needs further clarification on how 'from Saturday Evening to Monday Morning' should be 16 Hours, OR, better still, reach out to Court for answers. Even in one year's time, there will be no end to sucg questions. And how do expect the truth from the responses. The FBI should have been more organised with the lead questions. It is unethical to subject any hospitalised person to 16 Hours interrogation. Further investigations will be more reliable for the truth.

    April 29, 2013 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  2. ralphco

    tired of reading people who imply that not mirandizing him is somehow special or different treatment of a citizen – there is a terrorist exemption – it existed before this crime – it has been used before – it's not different than the law states. but oh well.

    April 29, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  3. truth hurts but reality bites

    the guy was talking freely and all of it made the obama administration look bad and worse, incompetent. of course they rushed a judge in their to shut him up! they did the very same thing with the new york bomber. obama has now shown a history of attacks on this country while he has been in the whitehouse and he has to cover them up any way he can.

    April 29, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  4. David Witcraft

    Sounds like he's waiving his constitutional rights the next time he's a suspect in a police investigation.

    April 29, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  5. freedom

    It's not only disgraceful, it's a threat to our national security. Who is this president protecting – because it surely isn't the American people. Isn't this grounds for impeachment?

    April 29, 2013 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  6. Keller

    Yes it is disgraceful that we are following our laws and constitution how dare we!

    April 29, 2013 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  7. Thomas

    Peter King, R-New York and Darrell Issa R-California truly enjoy acting the modern day patriot politician .

    They had already gotten some significant information, but much more was still not there. Who else was involved? What was his mother's role? Did his father have any role? Where did the radicalization start? How did it start? Are there any other conspirators out there? Who was part of it? Who assisted him in any way?”

    I'm so grateful to have smarter qualified professionals other then King or Issa running the investigation .
    King and Issa want votes , they care little about facts and less about law .

    April 29, 2013 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  8. techman

    Here we go again, cover up cover up cover up...and lastly, cover up. Just like Benghazi and the fast and furious operation..sick of this crap. The legal system is supposed to protect the innocent, this idiot bomber obviously is NOT innocent. Yet the DOJ still believes in protecting people who come to our land to kill us.

    April 29, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  9. Sick of Republican Jihadists

    You want disgraceful... look at the Congressional record of U.S. Rep. Peter King.

    April 29, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  10. Pandamonius

    Republicans are so very quick to blast Obama for "attacking constitutional rights", and then turn around when it suits them to do the same.

    Yeah, the kid is scum, but that doesn't lesson the need to follow the law in regards to his rights. Or would Rep King rather have the kid go free after the trial finds that his rights were illegally withheld?

    April 29, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  11. Marie MD

    Not as disgraceful as the repugs using every national and/or international event as their get elected talking points.

    April 29, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  12. king

    can an attorney general overruled a judge. what kind of crap is these repub talking about. next thing they would mess around and allow this suspect to walk because of their stupidity and share willingness to blame this administration at any cost, what ever happened to the constitution they love to to yap about, and taking their country back.

    April 29, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  13. clarke

    Is King an expert of criminal law? Maybe he is just wanting to get noticed by whom ever??

    April 29, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  14. Tony in Maine

    Peter King, your demagoguery is showing, please zip up.

    April 29, 2013 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  15. steven

    typical reaction from the right..they love a fight as long as they do not have to fight it...and they just love to step all over the rights of anyone whom they think that they can get away with.....miranda is the law of the land..and is required to be read to a suspect at time of arrest or at least soon after..failure to do so can lead t a mistrial and evidence collected from questioning can not be used if rights are not read...

    April 29, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  16. TWnoir

    The question appears to be when the clock starts and if it is then continuous for 48 hours.. Get the facts by reading the court decisions on this subject. Tsarnaev was in custody longer than 16 hours. Blaming AG Holder is misdirected AND the AG does NOT control the courts. The law is the law.

    The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence. — Justice Tom C. Clark

    April 29, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  17. not surprised

    If someone is surprised this blunder happened, I'm sure the circus to follow will shock you.

    April 29, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  18. Wolkes

    He was captured Friday and read his rights Monday. That's 48 hours. It's not based on 48 hours of straight questioning. If that was the case, they could drag their feet and do their own investigation and keep him in a gray zone until they were ready to exercise their 48 hours. I don't know about you, but as a citizen I am horrified by the precedent that would set.

    April 29, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  19. Mike Wallace

    Typical Republicans trying to expand government and strip citizens of individual rights...

    April 29, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  20. humberto

    Rep. King is corrupt and no good for covering up for frauds in the federal courthouse in Whiteplains NY. His creditable is crap.

    April 29, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  21. leesie

    This is deplorable partisanship. I bet the attorney general and judge know what's legal.

    April 29, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Peter King, is exactly what Republicans have built their reputation on: "Let's throw the Constitution at everyone we don't agree with until we don't like what the Constitution says." I find people like Peter King very unAmerican. Like it or not, those jerks are protected by our constitution. What kind of place would this be if we applied our rules only intermittently, like Peter King would like? We just can't do it, and he embarrasses himself (unbeknownst to him) by suggesting otherwise.


    April 29, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  23. TrentyD

    He was an American citizen so he should have been read his rights from the very beginning. It's as simple as that. Right now the law of the land is that if the government labels you a terrorist then you have no rights or due process anymore. I'm not okay with the government having that kind of power. We shouldn't compromise our principles for some illusion of safety, because that's what it is, an illusion. We will never be safe from someone that wants to do evil things.

    April 29, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  24. penguin

    Apparently the only Constitutional Right King beleives in is the right to bear arms. Where was his rhetoric following the 26 killed in Newtown, Conn. ? Or the mass killings in the Colorado theater? Or the mass killings in the Colorado school? Religious inspired terror is definetly a threat, but it pales in comparison to domestic white supremist groups or even deranged gun owners.

    April 29, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  25. Nlsme

    There obviously wasn't an imminent threat.

    April 29, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
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