The White House announced that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will NOT be tried as an enemy combatant after he was arraigned in his hospital bed. What does that mean? Here’s what you should know. Tsarnaev will face his first court hearing on May 30.
1. He’s a U.S. Citizen
Tsarnaev became as naturalized U.S. citizen last year, on September 11. Under U.S. law, a U.S. citizen cannot be tried in military commissions. He will be tried in federal court.
2. It Doesn’t Mean it’s Not Terrorism
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reminded reporters that, since 9/11, “hundreds” of terrorists have been convicted in federal court.” The Boston bombings have widely been described as terrorism by officials. “He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will process this terrorist through our system of justice,” Carney said.
3. If Branded a Terrorist, He May Have Still Have Fewer Rights than a Normal Citizen Even Though He Isn’t an Enemy Combatant
Under a 2011 policy, when “operational terrorists” are involved, the Obama administration aims to stretch Miranda’s public safety exception to the limit. The standard exception enables police to push suspects for information that could prevent imminent danger – without advising them of their rights to remain silent or get a lawyer. Courts have defined imminence as a matter of minutes, not hours or days. The administration is now trying to go much further, which could set a new precedent. (The longest public safety exception case upheld a 50-minute delay.)
4. John McCain Disagrees
Senator McCain is among the hardliners crying foul over this ruling. He believes Tsarnaev is an enemy combatant and should be tried accordingly. Lindsey Graham says we need to have access to the advanced interrogation techniques available in the cases of enemy combatants.
5. The Official Criminal Complain Was Just Released
He’s charged with Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction and Malicious Destruction of Property Resulting in Death.
Dzhokar Tsarnaev charged with conspiring to use weapon of mass destruction against persons and property in U.S. resulting in death
— U.S. Attorney MA (@DMAnews1) April 22, 2013
Read the complaint: