How Miranda Rights Work

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Author's Note: How Miranda Rights Work

I wrote this article in May 2013, just weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings. My research, then, turned up countless opinions on the non-Mirandized questioning of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the applicability of Miranda in circumstances of "domestic terrorism" (and whether Tsarnaev was a suspected "terrorist" or a suspected "criminal"), and exactly how the public safety exception applied when he was interrogated. In the wake of the bombings, opinions were so heated and opposing, the issue so politicized, I ended up primarily setting them aside and focusing on more broadly applicable information provided in calmer times. Court rulings in the bombing case may end up setting new precedents as to Miranda's applicability and definitions of "public safety concerns." In the meantime, though, this is How the Miranda Rights Work. I'd be interested in revisiting the topic in a few years to examine what the courts decide about Tsarnaev's hospital-bed confession.

Related Articles


  • Allen, Nick. "Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev 'awake and responding'." The Telegraph. April 22, 2013. (May 5, 2013)
  • Benoit, Carl A. "The 'Public Safety' Exception to Miranda." FBI. February 2011. (May 2, 2013)
  • FindLaw. "Miranda Rights." (April 29, 2013)
  • Johnson, Luke. "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Receives Miranda Rights After Delay For Public Safety Exception." The Huffington Post. April 23, 2013. (May 5, 2013)
  • Katersky, Aaron. "Faisal Shahzad Pleads Guilty In Times Square Car Bomb Plot, Warns Of More Attacks." ABC News. June 21, 2010. (May 5, 2013)
  • Law and Justice. "Capacity to Waive Miranda Rights." Dec. 29, 2011. (May 8, 2013)
  • National Paralegal College. "Custody." (May 5, 2013)
  • NOLO. "Miranda Rights: What Happens If Police Don't 'Read You Your Rights'?" (April 29, 2013)
  • PBS. "Landmark Cases: Miranda v. Arizona (1966)." (May 4, 2013)
  • Serrano, Richard A, Ken Dilanian and Brian Bennett. "Miranda reading silences Boston suspect." The L.A. Times. April 26, 2013. (April 29, 2013)
  • Tarlton Law Library – The Papers of Justice Tom C. Clark. "5th Amendment – Miranda v. Arizona, 1966." (May 4, 2013)
  • United States Courts. "Miranda v. Arizona: An Overview and Discussion Questions." (April 29, 2013)