Colorado v. Spring (1987) held that suspect’s knowledge of all the crimes with regard to which the he may be interrogated is immaterial to the determination of legality of his decision to waive the privilege of Fifth Amendment. For that reason, the law enforcement officials’ failure to give suspect notice of the subject of interrogation could not affect the latter’s decision to relinquish in a constitutionally significant manner that privilege.
Basically, an admission cannot be considered “fruit of the poisonous tree” if the tree itself is not poisonous (U. S. Supreme Court Center). As a rule, suspect’s decision to waive his or her Fifth Amendment privilege is considered by law to be voluntary lacking indication that the suspect’s resolution is overborne and his or her capacity for free-determination is significantly prejudiced due to coercive conduct of law enforcement officers (U. S. Supreme Court Center). The U. S. Constitution does not impose that a suspect should understand and know every potential effect of the relinquishment of the Fifth Amendment privilege (U. S. Supreme Court Center).
Therefore, the police officials’ silence as to the subject of an interrogation is not deception that is enough to invalidate a suspect’s waiver of Miranda rights. This is because once Miranda warnings are given it is hard to perceive how officers’ silence could cause a suspect to misconstrue the nature of his or her constitutional privilege to decline from responding incriminatory questions. For that reason, the Colorado v.
Spring case is significant to the jurisprudence of interrogation in view of the fact that it lays down the fundamental rule that suspect’s waiver of the Fifth Amendment privilege is not invalidated by his or her erroneous assumption that the interrogation would focus only on the federal charges against him or her. Moreover, the case is noteworthy given that it resolved the long time issue concerning law enforcement officers’ silence as to the subject of their interrogation. The case of Colorado v. Spring established that the mere silence of officers is not trickery sufficient to invalidate a legally recognized Miranda waiver.
Courtney from Study Moose
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