What, Oh What, Will the Talking Heads Say?

April 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm (By Tim) (, )

For those set a-worrying about Miranda warnings and Constitutional rights, there is this little PDF. I know—it could all be made up and a sham, as an army of conspiracy theorists are saying everywhere on the internet. But just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend this actually happened:


ADDED:  At the same moment yesterday this indictment was being presented in as prompt and vanilla-flavored a way as possible in a hospital room, I walked into the cafeteria at work. The TVs were on CNN, showing three pinch-faced talking heads on a three-way split, all decrying the lack of Miranda warning and what a terrible violation of rights this was, and that the Justice Department was not even going to allow defense counsel, and how could the Judiciary, of all branches, go along with this, and how terrible, terrible this all was, and we all should fear for our inalienable rights that George Bush…er…well…um….you know…(Obama) was letting people trample on, etc., etc.

Sometimes, the Theme of the Day doesn’t quite work. But, hey, there’s always tomorrow.

Sorry to sprawl on valuable real estate, but this is where our transcript gets good, if vanilla-flavored:

MR. FICK: Good morning, your Honor. William Fick
for Mr. Tsarnaev.
THE COURT: And you have had an opportunity to
speak with him?
MR. FICK: Very briefly, your Honor.
THE COURT: So you have your lawyers here.
THE DEFENDANT: (Defendant nods affirmatively.)
THE COURT: Mr. Tsarnaev, I am Magistrate Judge
Bowler. This hearing is your initial appearance before the
Court. We are here because you have been charged in a
federal criminal complaint.
At this hearing, I will advise you of your
constitutional and legal rights. I will tell you about the
charges against you and the penalties that the Court could
impose if you are found guilty.
You have been charged with (1): Use of a weapon of
mass destruction, in violation of 18, United States Code,
Section 2332a(a); and malicious destruction of property
resulting in death, in violation of 18, United States Code,
Section 844(i).
Mr. Weinreb, what are the maximum penalties?
MR. WEINREB: Your Honor, the maximum penalty on
each count is death, or imprisonment for any term of years,
1or life.
THE COURT: Is there a fine?
MR. WEINREB: A fine of up to $250,000.
THE COURT: I will tell you about your right to
counsel, and I will consider conditions of release pending
further court proceedings; that is, whether or not you
should be detained and what amount of bail should be set.
This is not a trial, and you will not be called upon to
answer the charges at this time.
If at any time I say something you do not understand,
interrupt me and say so; is that clear?
THE DEFENDANT: (Defendant nods affirmatively.)
THE COURT: All right. I note that the defendant
has nodded affirmatively.
As a first step in this hearing, I am going to tell you
about your constitutional rights.
You have the right under the Constitution of the United
States to remain silent. Any statement made by you may be
used against you in court, and you have the right not to
have your own words used against you.
You may consult with an attorney prior to any
questioning, and you may have the attorney present during
Counsel will be appointed without charge if you cannot
afford counsel.
If you choose to make a statement or to answer
questions without the assistance of counsel, you may stop
answering at any time.
This right means you do not have to answer any
questions put to you by law enforcement agents or by the
Assistant United States Attorney, Mr. Weinreb.
I want to make it clear. You are not prohibited from
making statements, but that if you do, they can be used
against you. You are not required to make a statement at
this initial appearance, and any statement you do make may
be used against you.
Finally, if I ask you any questions here in this
hearing or at any future hearing which you think might
incriminate you, you have the right not to answer.
Do you understand everything I have said about your
right to remain silent?
THE DEFENDANT: (Defendant nods affirmatively.)
THE COURT: Again I note that the defendant has
nodded affirmatively.
As I said earlier, you have the right to retain
counsel, to be represented by counsel, and to have the
assistance of counsel at every critical stage of these
You have the right to an attorney at this initial
appearance, during any questioning, at any lineup, and at
all proceedings in court.
You also have the right to have this Court assign
counsel if you cannot afford counsel or if you cannot obtain
Can you afford a lawyer?
THE COURT: Let the record reflect that I believe
the defendant has said, “No.”
I have provisionally appointed the federal defender,
Mr. Fick, to represent you in this matter….

What is a poor pundit to do when a Federal Judge reads this defendant his rights and has the temerity to release a transcript that gets posted on the internet?

Maybe wait 24 hours and make up something new?


  1. chickelit said,

    But what is a poor pundit to do when a Federal Judge reads this defendant his rights and has the temerity to post a transcript on the internet?

    Did the Judge post this? My experience suggests that the Court Reporter controls these things and releases them to the Press unless under order not to.

  2. chickelit said,

    I sense outrage like the surreptitious release of the corpse photo of #1.

  3. Timothy Burnett said,

    You’re right. The Court Reporter released it. I just wrote “Judge,” because it cut to the highest responsible figure, and I suspect it was released with her permission.

  4. Annie Gottlieb said,

    Where would this have taken place? Isn’t the defendant in the hospital?

  5. TT Burnett said,

    Yes, it was in the hospital. He’s apparently well enough to respond as the transcript indicates. He seems to be able to talk, or at least rasp, a little, but mostly he nods.

  6. Annie Gottlieb said,

    Oh, I see. Sorry, I jumped the gun and was only responding to your excerpt. Now I have looked at the PDF. If real (and it looks real enough), it must have been released to make it known that he did get his Miranda rights.

  7. chickelit said,

    As I sardonically remarked on Althouse, he has a sewn-up hole in his throat so he wasn’t waterboarded–he would have “leaked.” Who knows what information was gleaned prior to his “mirandizing” if any.

  8. Rod Jean said,

    This is a very standard format for an arraignment. Note that the defendant already had counsel with him before the arraignment. The magistrate’s recitation is part of what we call due process.

  9. TT Burnett said,

    It’s not necessary to “Mirandize” a defendant immediately. The police can ask questions, but the answers can’t be admitted in court. If they were after any information, it would no doubt have been about contacts with other terrorists or groups. This could be pretty irrelevant to the crimes as charged and off the table in the court case.

    And, indeed, it’s due process. Which is, of course, exactly what so many talking heads have been saying would be denied here.

  10. Icepick said,

    Mostly I’m stuck on the idea of a pressure cooker as a weapon of mass destruction. Can there be any doubt now that we were justified in invading Iraq? Surely Saddam had a pressure cooker stashed SOMEWHERE in that country….

  11. karen said,

    C’mon, ice. Saddam had no WMD- it said so on the news.
    Chemical, biological or otherwise– he was just a regular guy.
    Cooked over hot rocks, though.

    I had heard that the hole in his throat(i laughed @chicklet’s comment)was because he… put it there in an attempt to escape permanently
    Is that true?

  12. kngfish said,

    I call for a ban on Semi-Auto Assault Pressure Cookers!

  13. Icepick said,

    Don’t forget to ban confectioner’s sugar and flour, too.

  14. karen said,

    Maybe i shouldn’t have laughed at that comment-
    it was funny to me.
    We watched one episode of Survivor where one of the challenges called for immersion in water as the tide came in where it was a struggle to breathe.
    I immediately thought it was akin to h20boarding- except that the person decided how much of that drowning sensation they could take.

    A million$ is a million$.

  15. chickelit said,

    MR. FICK: Good morning, your Honor. William Fick
    for Mr. Tsarnaev.

    Wondering how that will resonate in the German press…

  16. amba12 said,

    Hey, Rod Jean — how the hell are you?? Long time.

  17. karen said,

    Ah, but he’s still got his thumb on the pulse of this blog.
    That’s not an accurate analogy- we’re ~under his thumb~?…
    His finger on our pulse? He’s got an ear to our ground?

    He still cares:0)!!!

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