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Sherman v. United States

United States Supreme Court
356 U.S. 369 (1958)



A government informer met Sherman (defendant) at a drug rehabilitation center. Sherman had a nine-year-old conviction for selling drugs and a five-year-old conviction for possession of drugs. The informer and Sherman continued to run into each other at other places around town. Eventually, they became friendly and learned that the other was also trying to recover from a narcotics addiction. However, at one point the informer began asking Sherman if he knew a place to buy drugs. After repeated inquiries, and only after the informer told Sherman how much pain he was in, did Sherman finally agree to acquire drugs for himself as well as for the informer. After his arrest, the police searched Sherman’s apartment but no drugs were found. The jury decided that Sherman’s hesitancy at complying with the informer’s inquiry was not an indication of his reluctance to buy drugs, but rather was simply the natural hesitancy of one associated with the sale of narcotics. Sherman was convicted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Warren, C.J.)

Concurrence (Frankfurter, J.)

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