New Jersey State Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) said that he is shocked at the way the administration of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is fighting to protect the privacy rights of the Boston bombing suspects just days after it allowed the trampling of the privacy rights of law-abiding homeowners with warrantless, armed searches of an entire neighborhood.
"While law enforcement was searching for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, they had no problem trampling the Fourth Amendment privacy rights of an entire neighborhood of law-abiding citizens as they went door to door pulling innocent families and children out of their homes at gunpoint before conducting warrantless searches of their homes," said Doherty. "Now, just days later, it's absolutely shocking to learn that the administration of Governor Patrick is refusing requests to release information related to the public benefits provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the Tsarnaev brothers at taxpayer expense, citing their right to privacy. It's a sick perversion of our laws that allow for accused terrorists to be afforded greater privacy rights than law-abiding citizens."
Doherty's comments followed reports that the Patrick Administration cited the privacy rights of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev while refusing requests by the Boston Herald to release information pertaining to any welfare benefits, educational aid, unemployment compensation or other forms of public assistance that may have been provided to the suspected terrorists.
During their search for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, heavily armed SWAT teams went door to door over a 20 block neighborhood of Watertown, ordering residents out of their homes. Upon opening their doors, residents were greeted by pointed guns and shouts to put their hands up as armed officers rushed inside to search their homes, without warrants or any likely suspicion that Tsarnaev was inside any specific residence. Tsarnaev was later found not in a home, but outside hiding in a boat in a resident’s backyard.
"The contrast between how the Patrick Administration treats the privacy rights of innocent citizens and accused terrorists is striking," added Doherty. "Terrorists should not be given greater constitutional protections than the people they attacked. People have a right to know if their taxes were used to fund the lifestyles of terrorists or the attacks they conducted."