Despite calls to treat the Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an “enemy combatant,” the White House says Tsarnaev will be prosecuted through the civilian system of justice.
Republican Rep. Peter King of New York and GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire have urged President Obama to let the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect to be treated as an enemy combatant. GOP leaders believe it will give authorities a chance to question the suspect and gather intelligence instead of trying the suspect immediately in a criminal court.
Several Democrats disagree and say the move would be unconstitutional.
Former U.S. attorney and MSNBC legal analyst Kendall Coffey says he agrees with the White House’s decision. Kendall Coffey says you have to be part of an enemy force to be considered an enemy combatant. “I don’t think being part of a general hatred of the United States is nearly enough…If we start throwing the Constitution out, we’re going to lose the real war for our values.”
“The Obama administration is trying to demonstrate civilian tools are adequate and tough enough to make everybody safe,” Kendall Coffey stated, but that has included extending the public safety exception for Miranda rights.
The former U.S. Attorney explained that the administration is using this case to establish that “we don’t need to ship everyone down to Guantanamo.”
While liberals and constitutional scholars may not like it, Mr. Coffey said, “the administration may see it as something that’s needed to preserve civilian jury trials.”
Dzhokhar was charged on April 22 with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and with malicious destruction of property resulting in death.