May 4th, 2010
06:19 PM ET

Toobin on the Times Square suspect's legal rights

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday evening spoke to CNN legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin about Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the Times Square bomb plot and his Miranda rights.

Below is a transcript of the conversation. It has been edited for clarity and length.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: Explain to our viewers about the Miranda rights. He was cooperating, he was answering questions. Then they read him his Miranda rights and now he's still cooperating, Jeffrey. It sounds a little strange - but explain the legal process under way.

Jeffrey Toobin: The Miranda rule says nothing you say can be used against you in court unless you first have been read your Miranda rights.

That doesn't mean that the police can't use the information, that they can't follow leads, that they can't go get search warrants, that they can't use the information that they give you before you get your Miranda warnings.

It just means that if you go to trial, information cannot be used against you.

Now, once he did receive his Miranda rights and the statements that he made afterwards, those certainly would be used against him if he goes to trial.

Blitzer: So as far as you can tell, everything is being done according to the books right now. We heard from law enforcement - the acting FBI director, we heard from Eric Holder, the attorney general - that they were authorized to start asking him questions as soon as they picked up him and effectively arrested them. Then, they eventually read him, formally, the Miranda rights and continued to ask questions.

Toobin: I think the conventional thinking is, when you have a situation involving terrorism, the most important thing is to get the information to stop further events. Then, you worry about Miranda, then you worry about whether information can be used in a subsequent court case.

But, certainly, in a situation like this, which is a rapidly unfolding investigation where there were explosives involved, you certainly would want to get the information first and then worry about its admissibility. It sounds like the government will have its cake and eat it too, here. It got the information and then it got it again post-Miranda warning.

Blitzer: The fact that he's a naturalized U.S. citizen, became a U.S. citizen about a year ago, what, if any, impact does that have as far as the law is concerned as opposed to being a native born American citizen?

Toobin: I think it makes no difference at all. You have no different rights in the criminal justice system whether you are a natural-born citizen or a naturalized citizen. He has all the rights of an American citizen … and will be able to exercise them. It makes no difference.

Blitzer: The fact that he's cooperating might help him as far as the sentence is concerned. But based on what we heard [Attorney General] Eric Holder say earlier, leveling all those charges, it looks like he could get at least life.

Toobin: Well, certainly he could get at least life. But I think that's all he could get.

The Supreme Court has never said specifically that you need to kill someone in order to get the death penalty, but that's certainly been the implication of a lot of Supreme Court opinions over the years and fortunately there were no deaths resulting from this act. So I think it is very likely that the most he could get is life in prison, but certainly given the range of charges against him, life in prison is a real possibility. 

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Filed under: Times Square Car Bomb • U.S.
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. IslamLacksTolerance

    Awesome now we have to pay for him to rot in prison. Execute him and send an example to the Muslim world. Have you ever noticed why these fanatical Muslims never mess with the Chinese. They dont take S@#$ from no one!

    May 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Terry Money

    Mr. Toobin,

    Why isn't what these folks doing considered treason? Please explain. Many, many thanks.

    May 4, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NOT in the name of Isam

    As a devout, practicing Muslim, please let me make it crystal clear that the actions of these misguided idiots in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM represent the doctrines of true Islam. Lets not forget we are at war with much of the Muslim world. Politics and personal agendas must be differentiated from faith.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. IslamLacksTolerance

    The only way Muslims know how to resolve conflicts is through violence. Goto Saudi Arabia and speak against God on the streets and see how long you live.
    Muslims need to preach and practice tolerance. We should be able to say anything about their faith without fear of conflict.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Barry NoBama

    Here's an idea America,

    CLOSE THE COUNTRY TO ALL FOREIGNERS!!!! WE DON'T NEED OR WANT YOUR PROBLEMS HERE… And while we on the subject… Haven't we all had enough of the "sanctuary" cities along the East Coast? New Haven, Stamford, Hartford, Bridgeport, NY City, the list goes on and on… And let's stop EDUCATING kids from known "Problem Countries". That means you IRAN, IRAQ, PAKISTAN, INDIA and the like… WAKE UP AMERICA! You're asleep at the wheel.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      Very classy, Barry. Your local tea party must be proud of you.

      May 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SSP

    The epicenter of world terrorism in Pakistan. Decades of appeasment to the Pakistanis has come to roost. The swamp over there wiill be difficult to drain and on top of that, we have people like this poster Barry who wants to equate India with Pakistan, Iran, Iraq. It is precisely of people like him with no clue about world cultures sitting in their cabins in some god forsaken place that we have elected leaders with equally no clue.

    The way to do this is to form a coalition of the like minded and defeat the very idea of JIHAD and Muslim terrorism instead of beating around the bushes

    May 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bushpig61

    I found it! Copy this to your browser immediately, without the underscores before and after the link, but you have to hurry before the CNN_Nazi's remove it.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    You have to type 4wqHdR1tDD4 in the search box once you get to the you tube site.

    May 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. NativeBornPakistaniAmerican

    I am tired of reading xenophobic, racist, and bigoted remarks posted constantly in the comment sections of CNN.

    I am grateful that in this wonderful country of ours, we all can truly see who the real bigots and extremists are, with their incindiary viewpoints. Thank God for freedom of speech. With the Internet, it is even more easier to remain anonymous while posting rediculously hateful remarks.

    Growing up in the Northeast, I have the priveledge to know many Indians, Iranians, Pakistanis, and Iraqis who are professional, educated, intelligent human beings. I am humble to say that I had many great professors from diverse backgrounds.

    If we want to live and compete in a globalized, pragmatic and inter-connected world, then we Americans have a responsibility to either educate ourselves and future generations in science, technology, medicine and business in order to compete with China and the rest.

    We need to increase specialization in research and development so that the world can continue to look up to us as leaders in innovation and commerce.

    Or we can behave like bigots such as IslamLacksTolerance, or Barry NoBama with a myopic , "close our borders even to lawful immigrants", view of the world.

    I hope, as an educated, pluralistic American born to Pakistani parents, that we pick the former and not the latter.

    May 4, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hlowry

    You gotta wonder!

    May 5, 2010 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. sdr

    Why are authorities not verifying people who have recently traveled from Pakistan or returning from Pakistan, all pakistanis or people who are returning from pakistan should be kept in holding cell and pakistan most of youth have been led to believe that terrorism is fashion, the authorities(some of them are involved in promoting terrorism in India) in pakistan should start implementing a strong anti terrorism law and monitor all the so called Islam centers...they should monitor all pakistani's in US....most of the pakistanis I'm sure are law-abiding but it is fashion in UK and US for pakistani youth who get entangled in religion

    May 5, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. ABC

    The only way to end this menace is to mind our own business and immediatly get out of Afghanistan. The more we Americans and Westerners kill innocent people via Drone Attacks and the like, the more the chance of upsetting young people to take revenge here.
    Its natural. It has nothing to do with religion. While we kill innocent people in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq and the like, it directly enrages the youth or relatives of those places here. The females responsible for the Moscow subway ordeal were directly effected in this fashion. Its elementry my dear watson!

    May 5, 2010 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. Red Ferrari

    The US is on a meteoric fall into the abyss....we will vanish while the oil slick will get larger! Ignorance has overidden any vestiges of mature thinking mentality in America...That is the way it is on 5-5-10.

    May 5, 2010 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. Trolleyfish

    sdr, what can it possibly mean that "terrorism is fashion?" How do you "verify" someone? Verify how? Make them prove they're not terrorists? How can you prove you're not a terrorist?

    May 5, 2010 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  14. LMW

    The only way CHRISTIANS know how to resolve conflicts is through violence. Goto ALABAMA and speak against God on the streets and see how long you live.
    CHRISTIANS need to preach and practice tolerance. We should be able to say anything about their faith without fear of conflict.

    May 5, 2010 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Paul

    I think this is local revenge, not international terrorism. The truck was outside Viacom, which owns Comedy CEntral, which recently ran the Mohammed as a bear episode of South Park. Remember the outraged islamist in NY? Anyone see a circel here?

    May 5, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
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