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Colorado v. Spring

United States Supreme Court
479 U.S. 564 (1987)


Facts

ATF agents received a tip that Spring (defendant) was illegally selling firearms and that he was involved in a murder. An agent set up a sting and purchased firearms from Spring. After federal agents arrested Spring, they read him his Miranda rights and he signed a written waiver. They asked him about the firearms deal, and then asked Spring if he had ever shot anyone. He stated that he had “shot [a] guy once.” Subsequently, federal agents questioned Spring again, and during this questioning, he confessed to the murder. The trial court convicted Spring. The Colorado Supreme Court reversed, finding that the agents’ reading of the Miranda rights was invalid because they did not tell Spring the scope of the upcoming questioning. Specifically, the agents did not tell Spring that they would be asking him about whether he shot someone. The result, according to the Colorado Supreme Court, was that the subsequent confession was inadmissible. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Marshall, J.)

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