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Boston Marathon suspect charged with using weapon of mass destruction

US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] said Monday that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged [press release] with using a weapon of mass destruction. According to the criminal complaint [text, PDF], Tsarnaev was charged with one count of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property within the US resulting in death, and one count of malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death. Tsarnaev made his initial court appearance Monday from the hospital, where he remains in serious condition. If convicted, Tsarnaev could face the death penalty. Earlier Monday, a White House spokesperson said that Tsarnaev, a US citizen, would not be charged as an enemy combatant.

Controversy arose over the weekend after federal officials said that Tsarnaev would not be read Miranda rights [Cornell LII backgrounder] before being interrogated. A US Department of Justice official announced Friday that the government would be invoking the public safety exception. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] criticized [JURIST report] the move, saying that this exception "should be read narrowly" and "is not an open-ended exception to the Miranda rule."

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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