1. Law . of, pertaining to, or being upheld by the Supreme Court ruling (Miranda v. Arizona, 1966) requiring law-enforcement officers to warn a person who has been taken into custody of his or her rights to remain silent and to have legal counsel.
Let me just say one thing first:
Faisal Shahzad: Worst. Terrorist. Ever.
Now, for those of you who have been following the story, you are aware that Shahzad is a naturalized United States citizen. Born in Pakistan, he moved over here years ago, got married, had some kids, then went on the make the absolute crappiest bomb of all time, which included firecrackers, nonexplosive fertilizer, and a child’s toy clock. Now, despite his Wile E. Coyote idiocy and the amusing nature of his “bomb,” one must not forget the severity of his intentions: he wanted to kill people, he wanted to strike fear in Americans, and he wanted to destroy. And again, it’s easy to chuckle at it all, because he failed so miserably, but this is an issue that must not be taken lightly.
If you want to know anymore about the investigation, you can go to your favorite news website of choice. My purpose is the dissect the comments made by John McCain this morning, who criticized interrogators for giving Shahzad his Miranda rights, calling it “a serious mistake” and that there are “350 different charges he’s guilty off – attempted acts of terror against the united States, attempted murder. I’m sure there’s a significant number to warrant the death penalty.”
Of course, with Shazad being an American citizen, what McCain is saying is nothing short of going against everything that the American criminal justice system stands for – so much so that even Glenn Beck has come to the defense of genuine American rights, saying that it isn’t “the popular answer,” but the right answer.
“He is a citizen of the United States, so I say we uphold the laws and the Constitution on citizens,” Beck said on Fox News’s Fox and Friends about McCain’s comments. “[Shahzad] has all the rights under the Constitution. We don’t shred the Constitution when it’s popular. We do the right thing.”
Wow. I’m left dumbfounded. I find myself in agreement with Glenn Beck. I need a beer. Granted, he rarely agrees with McCain and he may just see it as an opportunity to make a stance, but hey, this is still a rare, rare rational word from the nutjob. As for McCain, it’s frightening to know that he was so close to the presidency, but I can’t say that his comments are surprising. Republicans so often point to the Constitution when making their arguments, yet they only want to use it when it is convenient for them.
You can watch the video over at Huffington Post.
I like how True Slant summed up the situation muchmore eloquently than I ever could, so I will leave you with this:
Everyone ‘gets’ that getting as much information from accused terrorists is important. And the FBI did, in fact, utilize the public safety exception to Miranda to do some preliminary questioning of the alleged bomber, no doubt being careful not to exceed the exception and risk losing the admissibility of Mr. Shahzad’s statements in a court of law.
But both conservatives and progressives alike grasp that there are lines that are not to be crossed if we are to remain the kind of society intended by our Constitution. They also grasp that you cannot swear an oath to defend the Constitution and then turn your back on it when it is convenient – or popular with voters – to do so.
In Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436 (ironic), the United States Supreme Court ruled that statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant was informed of the right to consult with an attorney before and during questioning and of the right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police, and that the defendant not only understood these rights, but voluntarily waived them.
We can argue over whether or not these protections should be extended to a foreign national who commits a crime or terrorist act on American soil. We can argue over whether the ‘underpants bomber’ should be entitled to these protections when attempting a terrorist crime in U.S.. airspace. These are all credible questions open to debate and, someday, Supreme Court rulings.
But – like it or not – we granted the accused Times Square bomber citizenship. He’s an American. If he is proven guilty, he’s an American we can be ashamed of and one who should suffer the maximum penalty available, but he’s an American just the same.
If Senator McCain doesn’t like law, he can certainly begin the process of amending the law, either via legislation or a constitutional amendment.
Until then, Miranda remains the law of the land and having a United States Senator- who came within a few votes of being President – argue that we should ignore the law, is truly an upsetting spectacle.