Magistrate Judge Made Decision To Read Tsarnaev Miranda Rights

April 25th, 2013

This is interesting. Apparently the magistrate judge, on his own accord, decide to read Tsarnaev his Miranda rights, nearly 16 hours after his arrest:

A federal judge made the call to advise the Boston bombing suspect of his Miranda rights, even though investigators apparently still wanted to question him further under a public-safety exception.

The move came as authorities in New York said Thursday that the two suspects had “spontaneously” decided to travel to Manhattan last week to detonate the remainder of their explosives in Times Square. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the information came from authorities in Boston who had been questioning the suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The judge’s move, which was made Monday, has prompted lawmakers to press the Justice Department as to why it didn’t make a stronger bid to resist the judge’s plans

Judge Bowler was the first government official to advise Mr. Tsarnaev of his right to remain silent after his capture Friday night, officials briefed on the matter say. Mr. Tsarnaev after being read his rights stopped talking to investigators, the officials added.

The judge first told the Justice Department on Saturday she intended to read Mr. Tsarnaev his rights on Monday. One U.S. official said the judge cited the intense television coverage of the capture as one reason for initiating the criminal prosecution.

Not everyone is happy with this decision–especially the FBI:

House intelligence committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) said in an interview Thursday that Justice officials should have pushed back on the judge’s plans. He wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder late Wednesday to register his concerns.

“What I find shocking is that the judiciary proactively inserted itself into this circumstance and the Justice Department so readily acquiesced to the circumstance,” he said. “The court doing this proactively they may have jeopardized our ability to get public-safety information.”

Mr. Rogers, a former FBI agent, said because of the severity of the threat and the suspect’s poor health, investigators didn’t have sufficient time to question him. Among the information investigators were still seeking was whether others were involved in the attacks and whether there were additional explosives hidden somewhere, he said.

The FBI was aware Judge Bowler was planning to go to the hospital Monday and was “not happy about it,” Mr. Rogers said. “They believed they needed more time. This is not a good way to stop another bomb from going off.”

This may be a silly question, but do all the conditions of Miranda attach when those rights are read by a magistrate, instead of a police officer? In most cases, I would imagine that Miranda rights had already been read by the time an initial appearance is made. but this is a unique case where Miranda were first read at the initial hearing.