No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, [...]; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; [...].
Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and add to it:
The circumstances surrounding in-custody interrogation can operate very quickly to overbear the will of one merely made aware of his privilege by his interrogators. Therefore, the right to have counsel present at the interrogation is indispensable to the protection of the Fifth Amendment privilege under the system we delineate today. Our aim is to assure that the individual’s right to choose between silence and speech remains unfettered throughout the interrogation process.
If the individual indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease. At this point he has shown that he intends to exercise his Fifth Amendment privilege; any statement taken after the person invokes his privilege cannot be other than the product of compulsion, subtle or otherwise. Without the right to cut off questioning, the setting of in-custody interrogation operates on the individual to overcome free choice in producing a statement after the privilege has been once invoked. If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present.
Miranda v. Arizona, while leads to:
We now hold that when an accused has invoked his right to have counsel present during custodial interrogation, a valid waiver of that right cannot be established by showing only that he responded to further police-initiated custodial interrogation even if he has been advised of his rights. We further hold that an accused, such as Edwards, having expressed his desire to deal with the police only through counsel, is not subject to further interrogation by the authorities until counsel has been made available to him, unless the accused himself initiates further communication, exchanges, or conversations with the police.
Edwards v. Arizona (why is it always Arizona?) and explain how we come to:
Tsarnaev had been responding to the interagency High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, including admitting his role in the bombing, authorities said. A senior congressional aide said Tsarnaev had asked several times for a lawyer, but that request was ignored since he was being questioned under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule.
L.A. Times, 4/25/13.
Tsarnaev, a citizen of These United States, “asked” for a lawyer. His lawyer. His right to a lawyer under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America as explained by Miranda v. Arizona and Edwards v. Arizona. Your right to a lawyer. My right to a lawyer. A right. Not a request, not a variance, not an indulgence. A Right. Fundamental Right in the Pursuit of Life, Liberty and Justice and the American Dream. An inimical right. A right that cannot be taken away without amending the Constitution by approval from 75% of these united States.
And yet. And yet. That Right was ignored. Because we don’t like the guy asserting the right. Good thing we’re all in the law’s good graces. Good thing we’ve never done anything the law didn’t like.
The putative explanation – the “public safety exemption (note how it’s no longer an exception, but an exemption) to the Miranda rule”, which as has been covered here there and everywhere, is not exactly applicable.
But even if it were applicable, as explained here, there and everywhere, it is an exception to telling someone of their rights. It cannot make that right disappear. The Quarles exception says “we don’t have to tell you of your rights”, but those rights still exist. As far as I know, there’s no 48 hour exception to the existence of the Constitution. But I’ve been wrong before.
They exist because they are there. They are in the Constitution and the the last time I checked the Constitution couldn’t be amended by Executive Fiat. And just because Eric Holder says they can be, doesn’t make it true.
The outrage emanating from every corner of this great nation should be deafening. We should be pounding down the doors of our elected representatives, demanding that they pledge never to so abuse our rights again. Because if we don’t today, tomorrow they’ll take away more. If today, it’s okay to pretend like my right to counsel doesn’t exist, then maybe tomorrow my right to free speech doesn’t exist. Maybe tomorrow the government will have license to spy on me wherever I go, without my permission; reading my text messages and my e-mails because terrorism. Maybe tomorrow a high profile, well-respected and intelligent Federal Circuit Court of Appeals judge will suggest that we give up a little more privacy for perhaps a little more security. Maybe. Oh wait. That’s not tomorrow. That’s today:
I am not suggesting that privacy laws be repealed. I don’t think that they do much harm, and they do some good, as just indicated. But I don’t think they serve the public interest as well as civil libertarians contend, and so I don’t think that such laws confer social benefits comparable to those of methods of surveillance that are effective against criminal and especially terrorist assaults.
More than effective: indispensable. How much more havoc might the two Boston Marathon bombers have wreaked had they remained unidentified for weeks? The critics of surveillance cameras invoke the specter of the telescreen, a two-way television that thus operates as a surveillance camera, which figures in George Orwell’s great novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
But the critics miss two important distinctions. The first is that the telescreen is inside people’s homes — in every room, and monitored by state security personnel (“Big Brother is watching you”). The second distinction is that the nation in Orwell’s novel — “Airstrip One” (actually England) — is a Soviet-style totalitarian dictatorship. (Coincidentally, England today apparently has more surveillance cameras than any other nation, some 4 million.)
Our government is not totalitarian, and surveillance cameras, when indoors (in retail stores for example), are generally invited and controlled by the owner of the premises. The surveillance cameras installed by the government are, by and large, in public areas, mainly streets, where privacy is anyway limited by the fact that one is visible and audible to other people.
I will politely decline Judge Richard Posner’s invitation to build a Panopticon. For a man purportedly so intelligent, Judge Posner’s arguments are presented as so naive and optimistic and thus terribly dangerous. Remember, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Posner, who is not to be confused with – and I was hoping more intelligent than – Eric Posner, is a famed judge who has taken to embedding pictures into his judicial opinions. But, via Glenn Greenwald, I’d like to introduce him to Thomas Paine:
“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
And of course, John Adams in his infamous defense of the British soldiers. We must be extra vigilant in times like, in the face of gentle nudges in the opposite direction by learned people like Judge Richard Posner (or even the barbaric ham fisted grunts of the ilk of Rep. Louie Gohmert).
I’ll let Greenwald close:
This is not a platitude they were invoking but an undeniable historical truth. Governments know that their best opportunity to institutionalize rights violations is when they can most easily manipulate the public into acquiescing to them by stoking public emotions of contempt against the individual target. For the reasons Paine and Adams explained, it is exactly in such cases – when public rage finds its most intense expression – when it is necessary to be most vigilant in defense of those rights.
We have already seen the cost of Quarles. What will be the cost of Tsarnaev?