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Is Alexander Ciccolo A Potential Terrorist Or Just Someone Who Needed Help?13:46
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In this courtroom sketch, Alexander Ciccolo, second from right, is depicted with his attorney David Hoose, right, during a bail hearing Tuesday, July 14, 2015, in federal court in Springfield, Mass. Ciccolo, son of a Boston police captain, was arrested July 4, 2015, in Adams, Mass., and is accused of plotting to commit an act of domestic terrorism at a university and killing as many Americans as possible to show his support for the Islamic State group. He was ordered to remain behind bars while he awaits trial on a gun charge. (AP/Jane Flavell Collins)
In this courtroom sketch, Alexander Ciccolo, second from right, is depicted with his attorney David Hoose, right, during a bail hearing Tuesday, July 14, 2015, in federal court in Springfield, Mass. Ciccolo, son of a Boston police captain, was arrested July 4, 2015, in Adams, Mass., and is accused of plotting to commit an act of domestic terrorism at a university and killing as many Americans as possible to show his support for the Islamic State group. He was ordered to remain behind bars while he awaits trial on a gun charge. (AP/Jane Flavell Collins)
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The father of Alexander Ciccolo made the tough call to tip off the FBI to his son's recent radicalization. It was that tip that led to the 23-year-old's arrest July 4 — after the FBI monitored him since September 2014. Ciccolo had begun espousing radical Islamist views, and the feds say he had molotov cocktails in his apartment. They arrested him for allegedly receiving firearms from an undercover FBI agent.

But Ciccolo also has a long history of mental illness. So, could he have been committed to a mental health facility instead of arrested?

Guests

David Boeri, senior reporter at WBUR and co-host of WBUR’s Finish Line podcast. He tweets@DavidBoeri.

Harvey Silverglate, defense attorney and author of “The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses.” He tweets @HASilverglate.

Donald Stern, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.

More

WBUR: Did The Boston Police Captain Who Warned FBI About His Son Have Other Choices?

  • "Under Massachusetts law, any person may apply to a district court for 'a warrant to apprehend' someone in order to seek commitment to a mental health facility of 'a mentally ill person whom the failure to confine would cause the likelihood of serious harm,' says longtime criminal defense attorney Michael Natola."

This segment aired on July 20, 2015.

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