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Marianne B. Bowler was born in Boston, MA, in 1947. She earned her A.B. degree from Regis College in 1967 and her J.D. from Suffolk Law School in 1976. Bowler also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Suffolk University in 1994. Prior to serving the court, she was an Assistant United States Attorney. Bowler previously served as prosecutor for the Middlesex County as well as the Massachusetts District Courts. She is currently a federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Bowler has held this position since May 7, 1990. She is a former Chief Magistrate.
Bowler has been recently featured in the news for reading the charges against Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. On Monday, April 22, 2013, the judge charged Tsarnaev while he was hospitalized with using a weapon of mass and malicious destruction of property for killing three civilians and injuring more than two hundred individuals. Although Tsarnaev could not speak because of his injuries sustained during the manhunt, which lead to his arrest, he was able to communicate by nodding that he understood the charges against him. If found guilty, Tsarnaev, a naturalized U.S. citizen, will most likely face the death penalty.
According to an ABC News article, "Lawmakers Upset Judge Ended Tsarnaev Interrogation," Bowler has received criticism from lawmakers for ending the interrogation of Tsarnaev. The judge visited Tsarnaev in a Boston hospital and read him his Miranda rights. Bowler informed the suspect that he had the right to remain silent. After Tsarnaev received his rights, the Department of Justice's High-Value Interrogation Group couldn't legally question the accused bomber without an attorney present.
Newsday editorial, "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's cooperation with FBI ends after Miranda warnings," reports that prior to receiving his Miranda rights, Tsarnaev was grilled by interrogators for sixteen hours. One of the interrogators stated that vital intelligence was lost because Tsarnaev ended his cooperation with the FBI after he was informed of his rights.
ABC News column quoted Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence committee when he asserted, "He stopped cooperating. The FBI will tell you, they don't believe that they got the information, all the information that they would have liked about the public safety factor in the interrogation." Rogers wanted an explanation on Bowler's actions, so he decided to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. The chairman of the House Intelligence committee told ABC News, "We have to piece together, were there other people involved. We were in an interview trying to develop that rapport with this individual so that they would tell us if there is a public safety concern here with other bombs and other individuals. Now we just won't know."
Rep. Peter King also voiced his concern about why Bowler and Holder ended the interrogation. According to ABC News editorial, King claimed that the FBI was unable to continue with their investigation. They wanted to ask Tsarnaev if there were other explosives or additional co-conspirators involved with the Boston Marathon bombings. Was there any international connection or training completed overseas? King said, "The interrogation ended, and yet my understanding is that the FBI wanted to continue doing it. This certainly was cut short and why it was done by the attorney general and why the FBI wasn't notified about it in advance, why it wasn't discussed, I just don't have the answer."
The ABC News editorial noted that the Department of Justice believes that Tsarnaev's silence will not affect their ability to indict the suspect. Dean Boyd, a Department of Justice spokesman explained Bowler's actions. Boyd stated:
"Consistent with the Rules of Criminal Procedure, following the filing of the criminal complaint in this matter on Sunday, the Court, that evening, scheduled an initial appearance for Monday, which it then coordinated with the prosecutors, federal defender, court reporter, U.S. Marshal Service and the hospital. The Rules of Criminal Procedure require the Court to advise the defendant of his right to silence and his right to counsel during the Initial Appearance. The prosecutors and FBI agents in Boston were advised of the scheduled initial appearance in advance of its occurrence."
ABC News column mentions that King was also critical of the FBI. The FBI did not warn New York authorities that the terrorist suspects planed to attack Times Square. King said:
"If the ultimate target was to hit New York, New York should have been warned, should have been on notice and should have been ready to take whatever action they had to. We have to find out why the FBI did not notify N.Y.C. immediately as soon as they heard that there was a possible attack against Times Square. For us not to be told immediately, once there was even a hint of a threat against Times Square and against Manhattan, again we need a real explanation on this, what went wrong. I thought in a post-9/11 world, there would be instant communication, instant sharing of information."
Newsday pointed out that acting court clerk Robert Farrell had no reaction on Bowler's visit to Tsarnaev's bedside. Farrell stated, "The court has no comment on this issue." However, an anonymous individual who is familiar with Bowler's thinking claimed, "As soon as someone is charged, they're supposed to be seen without unnecessary delay.
We see people without undue delay whether it's a felon in possession of a firearm or an accused terrorist." After reading Tsarnaev his Miranda rights, Bowler asked the suspect if he could afford an attorney. Tsarnaev replied no. The judge said, "Let the record reflect that I believe the defendant has said, 'No.'"