I am writing in response to the April 23 Perspectives piece by professor David A. Harris of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law ("Misunderstanding Miranda"). In that opinion, Mr. Harris indicates that using the public safety exception to the Miranda warnings in the case of the surviving Boston bombing suspect is some sort of "legal loophole" that threatens our constitutional rights. I totally disagree. Granted, I look at this case through a different lens than Mr. Harris, having been employed for nearly 30 years as a federal agent.
Even he agrees that "perhaps the government might question the suspect about the existence of other explosives or plans, or whether he and his brother had other co-conspirators." Isn't this exactly what the government is attempting to do by invoking the public safety exception? If the use of this exception has been deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, how can it be painted as something that is denying this defendant his rights?
No one in authority, and for that matter, no rational American, is suggesting that the defendant be declared guilty by acclamation and immediately executed. In fact, the same edition of the PG published a report that the defendant was being represented by three federal public defenders.
I'm confident that the defendant's rights will be protected and he will receive a fair trial, something he would not get in many other countries.
The writer is a retired law enforcement officer.