Osama bin Laden Should Be Prosecuted in Civilian Court, Sen. Menendez Says

November 23, 2009 - 5:47 PM
New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez told CNSNews.com that Osama bin Laden should be brought to justice and prosecuted in civilian court, where he will most certainly be convicted.
(CNSNews.com) – New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez told CNSNews.com that Osama bin Laden should be brought to justice and prosecuted in civilian court, where he will most certainly be convicted.
 
Menendez, interviewed at the Capitol Thursday, was asked whether –when caught – bin Laden should be read his Miranda rights, as is required for all federal criminal defendants. Menendez said that as far as he was concerned, the al Qaeda leader should be prosecuted and convicted in court. (Hear Audio)
 
CNSNews.com: When we catch bin Laden, should he be Mirandized? Should he be read his Miranda rights? If there’s going to be a civil proceeding, the attorney general said it wouldn’t matter.
 
Menendez: As far as I’m concerned he should be prosecuted, brought to justice, and hopefully – and I fully expect – convicted.
 
Menendez was referring to questions raised by his Republican colleagues – particularly Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) – who questioned Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday over how the administration would treat terrorists caught in the future, now that they will be send to federal court to stand trial.
 
Graham asked Holder, “If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?
 
Holder, who was unable to provide a direct answer, said that whether or not bin Laden would be read his Miranda rights – including the right to remain silent during interrogation and the right to a taxpayer-funded attorney – “all depends.”
 
“Well, it does not depend,” Graham retorted. “If you’re going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrogation occurs, the defendant – the criminal defendant – is entitled to a lawyer and to be informed of their right to remain silent.”
 
Holder answered that the case against bin Laden would not rest on any statements the al Qaeda leader might make to federal interrogators.
 
“Again I’m not – that all depends. The case against him [bin Laden], both for those cases that have already been indicted – the case that we could make against him for the – for his involvement in the 9/11 case would not be dependent on Miranda warnings – would not be dependent on custodial statements.”
 
According to the Supreme Court in Miranda v Arizona, all civilian criminal defendants, now including terrorists, have the right to:
 
-- Remain silent during interrogation
 
-- Consult with an attorney during interrogation
 
-- Have an attorney appointed at government expense
 
-- Have an attorney present during interrogation
 
-- Stop answering questions at any time during interrogation