United States v. Colon, No. 13-1156 (1st Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
After a jury trial in the U.S. District Court, Appellant was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Prior to trial, Appellant unsuccessfully moved to suppress incriminating statements he made to police over the course of several encounters, arguing that any waiver of his Miranda right to remain silent was a product of threats and coercion. On appeal, Appellant contended that the district court failed to instruct the jury, under 18 U.S.C. 3501(a), to “give such weight to the confession as the jury feels it deserves under all the circumstances.” The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) there was no meaningful difference between the instruction called for by section 3501 and the instruction given at Appellant’s trial; and (2) even if courts should follow more closely the precise language of section 3501, any error on the court’s part to do so in this case went unchallenged and was unlikely to have affected the outcome of Appellant’s trial.