State v. Santiago

In State v. Santiago, 206 Wis. 2d 3, 556 N.W.2d 687 (1996), the court noted that for purposes of that appeal, there were no disputed facts. Id. at 13. Therefore, once the Santiago court decided that the question of the sufficiency of the Miranda warnings and whether the rights were knowingly and voluntarily waived was a question of constitutional fact, it reviewed de novo whether the undisputed facts met that standard. Id. at 27. The principal issue in Santiago was whether the State, in proving the sufficiency of the Miranda warnings and a knowing and intelligent waiver of Miranda rights, "must present evidence of the words spoken by a law enforcement officer advising a suspect of the Miranda rights in a language other than English and the translation of the words." Santiago, 206 Wis. 2d at 10. In Santiago, a Spanish-speaking police officer gave the suspect the Miranda warnings in Spanish. At the suppression hearing the State did not present the words the officer used in Spanish and their translation into English, but only conclusory statements of the officer on what he told the suspect. The court decided this was insufficient to meet the State's burden of proof. The court held that, when the accused puts the State on timely notice that he or she is challenging the sufficiency of the Miranda warnings given in a foreign language or the validity of the waiver because of the foreign language warnings, the burden is on the State to produce evidence, in addition to the officer's conclusory statements, that the foreign language words reasonably conveyed the Miranda rights and that the waiver was knowingly and intelligently made. See Santiago, 206 Wis. 2d at 25-26.