Kendall Coffey on the legal rights of suspects Part 1

Spinning the Law Kendall Coffey

Kendall Coffey on Spinning the Law with Steve Malzberg to discuss the legal rights of suspects Part 1

STEVE MALZBERG:  Joining us is Kendall Coffey.  How are you, sir?

KENDALL COFFEY:  Doing great, Steve.  Thanks for having me on.

STEVE MALZBERG:  No, thanks for spinning your schedule around to make it possible.  Look, I don’t know how much you can help us with this, but there’s so much going on with the FBI, no briefing yesterday, they’re going to have a briefing today, who’s a suspect, what’s arrested, what’s not arrested….

This is legalese, and the words that they use when denying that there’s an arrest been made, that there’s a person if interest, so much—and because this administration would never declare a terrorist here an enemy combatant, it means the person that they do eventually capture or take into custody will be given all the rights of a grocery store robber.  So I guess every phrase they use, they use carefully, and every one has legal ramifications, correct?

KENDALL COFFEY:  Yeah, and it stems back to when authorities had identified incorrectly an individual as a suspect back with the Olympic bombs.  Turned out Eric Rudolph was the perpetrator of those bombings, but they mistakenly referred to someone as a suspect.  And to this day, they’re afraid of the word.  In fact, (laughs) nowadays they’ll use the word “suspect” just about at the time they’re about to make an arrest.

And that’s not realistic.  I don’t know if that’s helpful to the public because a suspect means someone they’re really looking at.   But they don’t want to say that.  They sometimes say “person of interest”…and I guess the best I can do to translate this is to say that the person we used to call a suspect is now typically called a person of interest.  So how’s that for the law making things more complicated than necessary?

STEVE MALZBERG:  I got a good one that could be all-encompassing, really, I mean…if they use it on “Criminal Minds”… “unsubbed,” unsolved…oh geez, I know what it means, something like…subject…unfound—

KENDALL COFFEY:  “Unfound subject” is popular, that would work, too.

STEVE MALZBERG:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.  But “unsub” would be a cool term for them to use ‘cause it doesn’t mean anyone specific, it doesn’t mean they have anybody, it means they’re searching for an “unsub”—anyway!

One other thing, and I don’t know if you can help me here, and I don’t want to throw you a curve, and believe me, if you can’t, that’s fine, we’ll move onto some of the cases that we discussed, you and I, earlier this week, and that is, the Saudi who was a person of interest, whatever, he was in the hospital, they questioned him, and then I heard from Steve Emerson today that confirmed that he was about to be deported next week.  Today [unintelligible] denied that but supposedly there is a document that says just that.