By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) - U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers has expressed concern to Attorney General Eric Holder that the legal handling of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect may have "prematurely cut off" a lawful FBI interview.
Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, said he wanted more information about the appearance by U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler at the hospital where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being held after being charged in the bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 200.
"Specifically, I would like more information as to who determined that the proceedings would occur at that specific time and place while questioning was still ongoing," Rogers said in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by Reuters on Thursday.
"My understanding is that the normal practice places the duty to take the defendant to court (and accordingly discretion as to timing consistent with the rules) on law enforcement, and not the court," the letter said.
Tsarnaev, who was captured on Friday, was charged at a bedside hearing on Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. He and his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police, are both suspected with carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings.
It was during the proceeding before Bowler that Tsarnaev was warned of his right to remain silent and his right to an attorney.
Before Monday's hearing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that he and his brother had also planned to set off bombs in New York's Times Square, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
There is an ongoing debate about whether authorities should hold off reading the so-called Miranda warning to a suspect in a terrorism case until questioning has been completed to ensure no other plot is in the works that could harm the public.
A federal law enforcement official told Reuters that the magistrate judge initiated the process.
"The court schedules initial court appearances for defendants, not the Justice Department," the official said.
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure require that anyone who is arrested must appear before a magistrate judge "without unneccesary delay" and that, during the proceeding, the magistrate judge must advise the defendant of his or her right to remain silent.
After the criminal complaint was filed on Sunday, Bowler sought to arrange an appearance for Monday morning, according to the law enforcement official. Prosecutors, the federal public defender and FBI agents in Boston were all aware of Bowler's plans, the official said. (Additional reporting by Lawrence Hurley; editing by Karey Van Hall and Christopher Wilson)