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Roberts v. United States

United States Supreme Court
445 U.S. 552 (1980)


Roberts (defendant) traveled with Payne to the office of the federal district attorney in a car owned by Payne. Federal investigators knew from surveillance activities that Payne’s car had previously been used to transport heroin. Payne told investigators that she sometimes lent her car to Roberts and suggested that they question Roberts. Roberts voluntarily agreed to answer questions. He was given Miranda warnings and told that he was free to leave. Roberts admitted to having delivered heroin and discussed phone conversations related to drug transactions. Roberts refused to give names of suppliers and refused to provide that information during the entire course of the ongoing investigation. After pleading guilty to charges of using a telephone to facilitate the delivery of heroin, the federal district court imposed a sentence which it based, in part, on Roberts’ refusal to cooperate with the government’s investigation.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Powell, J.)

Concurrence (Brennan, J.)

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