Date of Original Version
When Dzhokhar Tsernaev was taken into custody after the Boston Marathon bombing, the Obama Administration’s Justice Department moved to invoke the Quarles Public Safety Exception rather than inform the accused of his rights. A widespread debate about the utility of informing all suspects of their Miranda rights ensued. In this article, we use the Congressional Record to examine the political foundations of the Miranda rule, the Congressional response to Miranda, and the development of the Public Safety Exception announced in Quarles v. New York. We argue that, prior to the Miranda decision, there was widespread and robust political debate in Congress about informing suspects of their rights. This debate lasted for over a decade and, acting in concert with national political majorities, the US Supreme Court announced the Miranda ruling after a small group of US Senators were keeping Congress from acting on legislation that informed suspects of their rights. What separates Miranda from Quarles is that there was virtually no political debate in Congress about carving out this exception to Miranda and certainly there was no debate about applying it to terrorism suspects. After tracing the evolution and application of the Quarles Public Safety Exception, we argue that it requires a robust political debate in the elected branches of the US system, especially in light of the Obama Administration’s application of it to terrorism suspects.
Ley, A. J., & Verhovek, G. (2014). The Political Foundations of Miranda v. Arizona and the Quarles Public Safety Exception. Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, 19(2), 206-251.