Via the Examiner, they’ve hit him with just two counts thus far, one of which is conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (i.e. an IED) against persons or property in the U.S., but that’s enough for a death sentence if the DOJ chooses to seek it. I sense some anger on the right that the feds aren’t treating him as an “enemy combatant,” but I think that has more to do with the condemnatory power of that term than the legal consequences flowing from it. Terrorism is qualitatively different from common crime in its political motivation and so people want Tsarnaev to be treated qualitatively differently by the justice system. That’s also what drives much of the objections to Mirandizing terrorists, I think: It’s not that Miranda will matter hugely in determining whether he talks, it’s that by Mirandizing him you’re treating him like a common criminal rather than a man who’s declared war on the United States.
What about the presumption of innocence? Tsarnaev isn’t considered guilty of terrorism until he’s been tried and convicted – in a court, with full due process.
My concern is not for Tsarnaev, it is for the Constitution and the rule of law. Give him his rights, dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Give him a fair trial before a jury of his peers. Let them find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then allow him to make whatever legal appeals he can.
Then strap him down, shove a big needle in his arm and pump his ass full of bye-bye juice.