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Miranda Warnings and the Alleged Boston Marathon Bomber

The tragic bombings and related events surrounding the Boston Marathon were felt by us all in Boston and nationwide. My heart goes out to the victims affected by the violent acts. American Flag.jpg

Following the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is believed to be behind the attacks, many people have begun to debate the validity of granting a public safety exception in order to circumvent the requirement that Mr. Tsarnaev be informed of his right to remain silent and be represented by counsel. During questioning on Sunday morning by FBI agents during this special period, he admitted to his role in the attacks, and stated that he did not know of any additional plots, and that he and his brother had acted alone.

In the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court, Tsarnaev is charged with two federal crimes, including “Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction,” and “Malicious Destruction of Property Resulting in Death.” The complaint details the terrorism task force FBI agent’s reviewal of evidence, including video surveilance from nearby businesses.

Interestingly, it discusses the two Tsarnaev’s believed roles in the Boston Marathon bombings, a subsequent carjacking and robbery of the driver of the car, and the shoot out that later occurred with police. There is no mention of the MIT shooting, nor explanation regarding why it is excluded. Due to the evidence regarding how the crimes in this case affect interstate commerce, perhaps the lack of charges regarding the remaining alleged crimes is because the state of Massachusetts is expected to bring charges for those crimes under state law.

During the initial hearing, which took place at the suspect’s hospital bedside, he was appointed a public defender, and informed of the nature of the charges and their potential penalties. The maximum sentence that he could receive for each charge is the death penalty, although he could also face life imprisonment, or imprisonment for a term of years. He also faces potential fines of up to $250,000 for each offense.

While his counsel agreed to voluntary custody without prejudice, the government moved for maintained custody due to the nature of the crimes and the potential flight risk.The hearing ends with attorneys for the government and the defendant agreeing upon a probable cause hearing for May 30.

If you have been accused of a crime, it is important that you remember your right to counsel, and that if you cannot afford one, one may be appointed to you. Your right to counsel stems from two separate Constitutional protections, which include your Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate yourself (manifested in the Miranda warning regarding the right to remain silent), and your Sixth Amendment right to be represented during trial. An experienced criminal attorney can inform you regarding which questions may not be asked, and how to best proceed with your case.

The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy has substantial trial experience defending clients facing many different types of criminal charges. As a career defense attorney, he affirmitavely believes in the notion that under our justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty. Attorney Murphy will fight to have your charges dismissed if possible, or to have your charges reduced in order to avoid a trial. Don’t jeopardize your future; contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy today for a free legal consultation regarding your case by calling 617-367-0450 or submitting the online contact form.

More Blog Posts:

Attorney Patrick J. Murphy Fights for Accurate Court Records in Recent Revere Case, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published April 17, 2013
High Court in Massachusetts Rules Sharing of Marijuana Not a Crime, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published April 10, 2013