FBI agents wanted to gain the trust of Kevin Harpham, the man suspected of planted a bomb at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, so they didn’t give him his Miranda rights for hours after he was arrested.
Now a federal judge is upset that the FBI didn’t tell Harpham what he was under arrest for and didn’t immediately provide him with his Miranda rights.
“In this case the evidence is clear that Harpham was not taken directly before a judicial officer,” U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush wrote in a briefing.
“It is clear that when F.B.I. Agents Cleary and Butler took custody of Harpham they did not inform him as to why he was being arrested, nor show him an arrest warrant despite Harpham’s questions as to why he was in custody,” the judge wrote. “The Agents told him that would be discussed when they arrived at the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office. Agent
Cleary had possession of an arrest warrant for Harpham, but he did not advise Harpham
of its contents, show him the warrant, or advise him of the reason for the arrest for at
least two hours following the arrest.”
“Whether the delay in taking Harpham before a judicial officer from the time of his 8:30 a.m. arrest until approximately 3 p.m. was the result of unnecessary delay, and if so, the effect thereof on the admissibility of relevant evidence, if any, obtained during any unnecessary delay, shall be addressed in the supplemental briefing,” Quackenbush wrote.
The Justice Department relaxed the requirements for federal officers to inform terror suspects of their Miranda rights back in December. The guidelines apply to “exceptional cases” where agents “conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat” and requires prior approval from FBI supervisors and Justice Department lawyers.
Prosecutors also revealed that Harpham allegedly took photos of himself as well as African-American children and a Jewish man in a yarmulke at the Jan. 17 event, the Associated Press reports.
The bomb Harpham allegedly left at the parade was defused before it went off. He was arrested on March 9, and later charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and committing a hate crime and related charges. Harpham’s trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 22.