Richard Davis: Boston bomb suspect deserves rights under law

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  • Cool Cat Cosmo Payson, UT
    April 26, 2013 1:59 p.m.

    Ah, it's good to see Professor Davis' articles now and then. I remember only a few years ago sitting in his class as a student, and though we stand on different sides of the political spectrum, I was impressed with his ability to be fair to both sides. And I agree, this man, as despicable as his actions may be, must not be deprived of his rights. Should he even be a citizen? Well, that's another debate, but as it stands, he is.

    As Voltaire once said, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." I believe the same principle applies here, in giving this person the rights that he is entitled to, just like any other citizen, like myself. Let justice be served, but let's not let our emotions circumvent our sacred principles of justice, liberty and equality.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    April 26, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    This isn't about his legal rights concerning his trial. He will get a fair trial with the evidence that is admissible in court. This is about getting the information from him that could prevent further terriorist attacks in America. That is what should happen with him before his fair trial takes place. That is why terriorists can and should be handled differently from ordinary criminals. It's kind of like putting a person in isolation if they carry some dangerous disease. You're denying them a certain right at that time for a greater public good. Don't worry all you, he will get his day, week, month, year in court. But we need to know what he knows first.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    April 25, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    LDS Lib/OpenMinded Mormon,

    What is the difference between a liberal who spends his life picking nits and the Boston Bomber who acted out his fantasies with a bomb? Would you like to be judged for what you DID or for how you made others feel with your rhetoric?

    Even you have the right to speak and to spread whatever kind of nonsense you desire. It is not a crime. Bombing people is a crime. Your linking rhetoric to bombs is irresponsible but not at all unexpected.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 25, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    What exactly is the difference between these terrorists --
    and say -- the other gun touting Tea-Partiers who think the Government is evil, America and the world is becoming too immoral, taking matters into their own hands, threatening a violence, hoping to start an Insurrection {jihad of Holy war], or secedeing from the Union?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    April 24, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    He needs to be tried in our civilian system with full rights and protection.

    Our system of justice MUST survive any act of terrorism or the terrorists win!

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    April 24, 2013 7:32 p.m.

    Whether a terrorist is a citizen or not, its very simple. If the military picks them up on the battlefield they belong in gitmo. If the civilian authorities pick them up, they should have due process. What I saw in Boston was an exercise to operate NDAA, and it worked very well.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 24, 2013 7:10 p.m.

    Nope sorry guys but this terrorist needs to be treated as an enemy combatant ...that is if we care more about stopping future attacks. FDR did the same exact thing during WWII simply because we needed the intel more than we needed to pat ourselves on the back for giving due process. So after all your bloviating regarding due process what answer will you have when yet another series of pressure cooker bombs explode in major US cities killing even more innocent children? Will you say ...well we just couldn't interrogate this kid and treat him like the trator that he is because ...well because we are Americans and we don't do that. HA!! Tell that to all those who lost their legs!! I am guessing here but I would bet all those poor souls who lost their limbs in Boston would be all for grilling this kid - free from lawyers - and getting every ounce of intel out of him BEFORE the lawyers get hold of him and he clams up .... and then either putting him to death or life in prison.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 24, 2013 6:35 p.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil "Those decisions are made by career employees who don't represent any administration in particular."

    Why the fixation on whether it was career employees or political appointees? They all work for the same boss: the American people. We ought to be examining what went wrong. Why is a man granted citizenship and seven months later is bombing one of our cities? What did we miss in the naturalization process? Where was the disconnect?

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 24, 2013 5:50 p.m.

    Re: "What would make him an enemy combatant and not Timothy McVeigh?"

    Nothing I'm aware of. McVeigh was also an enemy combatant.

    This isn't hard. US definition -- "a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States . . . ."

    The question of whether an enemy combatant is a lawful combatant or not, defines whether he's an EPW, but won't change enemy combatant status.

    The Supreme Court ruled US citizen enemy combatants retain a right to review of their detention by a writ of habeas corpus, but that doesn't change their status, either.

    "Miranda" rights are not in the Constitution. Miranda is, rather, a court-made scheme to assure fairness and due process in trials, not to vindicate Fifth Amendment rights against compelled statements.

    Statements made by an accused in violation of this rule would be inadmissible at trial, but who cares? There's plenty of other evidence to convict.

    Try him in court or commission? Who cares?

    But, whatever we do, get all the info he has about future attacks.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 24, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    nate - no, I don't think any political appointees had anything to do with his being granted citizenship. Those decisions are made by career employees who don't represent any administration in particular.

    mike richards.... your comments are spot on.

    Lets not forget, this is not the first time a device like this has been used at an event like this. In 1996, Eric Rudolph placed and exploded a like device at the Atlanta Olympics. Rudolph was not muslim, but an evangelical christian. And there was no talk at all about him being considered an Enemy Combatant.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 24, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    Patriot.... see if you recognize any of these names. Do a little research...

    Osama bin Laden
    Anwar al-Awlaki
    Abu Hafs al-Shahri
    Atiyah ‘Abd al-Rahman
    Ilyas Kashmiri
    Ammar al-Wa’ili, Abu Ali al-Harithi, and Ali Saleh Farhan
    Harun Fazul
    Younis al-Mauritani
    Baitullah Mahsud
    Noordin Muhammad Top
    Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan
    Saleh al-Somali
    Abdallah Sa’id
    Abdul Ghani Beradar
    Muhammad Haqqani
    Qari Zafar
    Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi
    Sheik Saeed al-Masri
    Hamza al-Jawfi
    Plus many more....

    Why don't you ask these fine gentleman if "America is an easy target because we have no leadership and terrorists know it"

    I don' t think they will be answering you, because they are all Al Queda and Taliban leaders killed or taken captive since Obama took office. Seems Barack and his merry band of liberals have been taking names and.... well.... a heck of a lot more than the previous sherif.

    Lets focus on being Americans first.... and leave the partisan games for the playground.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    April 24, 2013 5:00 p.m.

    "....Liberals want to lawyers him up. Conservatives want to interrogate this terrorist in order to prevent another future attack and save lives....."

    Conservatives have no beef with liberals on this score. Their anger would be better directed at our country's founders for giving us the system of justice and Bill of Rights that we have.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 24, 2013 4:49 p.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil "You really think any administration individually reviews every single name that wants to become a citizen"

    If they don't, they're doing it wrong.

    "especially a minor"

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an adult, and he was when he became a citizen.

    "partisan silliness"

    It has nothing to do with a party. I'm not affiliated with any party. I'm commenting on the fact that the rights of this American citizen, over which we are agonizing today, were granted to him by our government about a half-year ago. I'm suggesting that we should be more careful about whom we give them to.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 24, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    If this kid gets a lawyer he will clam up and that will be the end of the intel from him. So much for preventing another attack. I could care less about his prison term - I care more about the intel that we could get from him - what does he know, who does he know, etc... Liberals want to lawyers him up. Conservatives want to interrogate this terrorist in order to prevent another future attack and save lives. If there is another similar attack that could have been prevented with interrogation and lives are lost who will be held accountable? Barack and his liberals? Not a chance. America is an easy target because we have no leadership and terrorists know it.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 24, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    nate.... i hope your comments were tongue in cheek. You really think any administration individually reviews every single name that wants to become a citizen, especially a minor. Good grief will, the partisan silliness never end.

  • WestGranger West Valley City, Utah
    April 24, 2013 2:33 p.m.

    The rule of law and due process also include the provision that allows for a person to be categorized as an enemy combatant. The overwhelming number of Muslims have been victimized by a much smaller group of radical jihadist Muslims who kill in the name of their religion. The war in terror is a new kind of war against the acts of these radical killers who just happen to be Muslim. The brothers certainly have ties to this group according to statements and to their YouTube site with links to this group. The older brother went to Russia for 6 months recently. There are reported sightings with known terrorists. Isn't in the public's best interest to take these facts into account and interrogate the remaining brother in order to get more information on possible further terrorist acts? After all, people are dead and many people were maimed and injured? Don't these victims and the public have the right to safety in light of the evidence against these brothers' ties to terrorism? Not everything is about racism and Islamophobia.

  • isrred South Jordan, UT
    April 24, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Stop the presses, Mike Richards and I actually agree on something!

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    April 24, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    The thing is, if he is denied due process, whats to stop them from doing the same thing to someone that was born in the country and lived here all their life? Why just apply this to terrorism? The next thing you know they will be doing the same thing to everyone no matter what the crime is.

    The Republicans who want his miranda rights waved are just as bad as the Democrats.

  • HaHaHaHa Othello, WA
    April 24, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    Funny how leftists get all worried and crazed about slippery slopes and allegedly following the constitution, when it comes to protecting terrorists, but not when it comes to gun rights for gun owners!

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 24, 2013 10:45 a.m.


    Just as clearly, however, he IS an enemy combatant, taken in the act of making war against the United States, on the battlefield he chose.


    How so? It isn't that clear to me. Whom was he representing? What nation/state was he representing that declared war on the United States? What exactly is the legal definition of an "enemy combatant"

    What would make him an enemy combatant and not Timothy McVeigh?

    I agree it is a slippery slope we create when we allow US citizens to be declared enemy combatants. Yes, his crime was indeed heinous; which in my opinion only indicates the need for us to give him his Constitutional Rights. If we as a nation can give someone who has done something so vile as he, then our rights are also secure in the event that we need to exercise them.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 24, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    He is a citizen and therefore entitled to the protection that the law gives to all citizens. The government must prove that he committed a crime. That should be easy. But, even with all the evidence against him, he is entitled to a trial with a jury consisting of other citizens.

    What if he had used a car and just plowed into a group of people watching the race? What if he had been shouting praises to his god while he did that? Would he be seen as a non-citizen?

    The crime was committed in America by an American. The "tools" he used did not change his status. The god he "worships" does not change his citizenship.

    Everything he did is despicable, but citizens commit despicable crimes every day. The number of murders committed everyday are far greater than the number of people that he killed. The number of people who are maimed everyday is far greater than the number of people that he maimed. That does not diminish his crime and it also doesn't diminish his status as a citizen to be treated as fairly as each of us would hope to be treated.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    April 24, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    Beautifully stated, Professor Davis. Amen and amen.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    April 24, 2013 9:27 a.m.

    I believe it was Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan who argued that "the rights of all men are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened."

    I concur. The only way to insure due process for yourself is to guarantee it to all regardless of what they are accused of. The moment you start making exceptions, the right to due process is in jeopardy.

    The use of military tribunals has been justified in times of war, the conspirators in the assassination of Lincoln and the Nuremburg trials are two examples. But trial in a civilian court is always preferable in my view. It demonstrates to the world that we have confidence in the system of justice that we recommend to them.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 24, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil "The Obama administration needs to be very careful here."

    Yes, more careful than they were last fall when they granted him citizenship.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    April 24, 2013 5:29 a.m.

    It is a very slippery slope we head down when we start charging US citizens who act out as Terrorist as enemy combatants and there for have limited legal rights. We have no real definition of what an enemy combatant is. Why is the Boston incident a religiously motivated enemy combatant case, where as Terry Nicoles and the Oklahoma City bombing not - and the 1996 Atlanta bombing not?

    Granting such latitude for the government to randomly classify people as enemy combatants is indeed very dangerous. There must be a defined path to get to this classification, Are gang bangers enemy combatants? They clearly act in a way to incite terri in their communities.

    The Obama administration needs to be very careful here.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 24, 2013 5:02 a.m.

    Re: "We, too, must give Tsarnaev all the legal protections he deserves under the law."

    And, don't worry Prof, we will. Calm yourself. The only question is which law should we apply.

    Clearly, he can be tried in US courts as a civilian, with the full panoply of Article III, and 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment protections. This is the approach the Obama regime indicates it favors, at least, for the moment. We'll see, if the prosecution heads south, for any reason.

    Just as clearly, however, he IS an enemy combatant, taken in the act of making war against the United States, on the battlefield he chose. Thus, he could legally be treated as such and given only those rights guaranteed to him under the Law of War and the military commission statute.

    Either way is perfectly legal, moral, and ethical, pandering, political White House pronouncements to the contrary, notwithstanding.