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Legal Experts Debate Whether Alleged Boston Bomber Should Have Been Read Miranda Rights

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TWC News: Legal Experts Debate Whether Alleged Boston Bomber Should Have Been Read Miranda Rights
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As authorities waited for the chance to question the only surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, there was a fierce ongoing debate over a decision not to read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights when he was captured.

Tsarnaev, 19, remained in serious condition on Sunday, and had been hospitalized since his arrest Friday night.

Those rights, including the right to an attorney, can be denied if authorities are dealing with an imminent threat to the public.

Some Republicans feel Tsarnaev should be handed over to the military and treated as an "enemy combatant" in order to gain intelligence.

Usually the term is used for foreign enemy fighters on a battlefield.

Tsarnaev is a naturalized American citizen with no known ties to any terror groups.

Some legal experts are wondering if the Constitution even allows holding a suspect, let alone a citizen like Tsarnaev, without legal representation.

"The Supreme Court has said there are situations, for example if there's unexploded ordnance, if there's people that could get hurt because of another planned blast, those are the type of things you can question him about, namely to avoid any future or further injuries to the population," said legal expert Paul DerOhannesian. "The problem you would get into, once you get past those types of questions, like 'Are there other active plots going on?' 'Can you get into how are you financed?' 'Who were the other people that were behind you?' 'How did you first get involved?' And some of those are the more intriguing questions, that really doesn't fit the public safety exception that we're talking about."

The most serious charge the Tsarnaev could face would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people, a federal crime which carries a possible death sentence.

Massachusetts does not have the death penalty.

Tsarnaev's 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who was also a suspect in the bombings, died in a gun battle with police Thursday night.

By Saturday, more than 50 victims of the bombing remained hospitalized, and three were in critical condition.

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