Jacob Sullum on the Bogus 'Public Safety' Exception to the Miranda Rule



Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, captured last Friday evening, was not informed of his right to remain silent and his right to a lawyer until Monday morning, nearly three days after his arrest. The FBI said the delay was justified under the "public safety" exception to Miranda v. Arizona, the 1966 ruling in which the Supreme Court said the now-familiar warnings are required to enforce the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against compelled self-incrimination. But Senior Editor Jacob Sullum argues that the public-safety exception itself is not justified, which he says becomes clear when you consider the 1984 decision that announced it.