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Criminal Law Keyed to Lee
Jacobson v. United States
Citation:503 U.S. 540, 112 S.Ct. 1535, 118 L.Ed.2d 174 (1992)
Jacobson, a 56 year old veteran-turned-farmer, ordered two magazines and a brochure from a California adult bookstore in February 1984. The magazines contained photographs of nude preteen and teenage boys. The contents of the magazines startled Jacobson, who testified that he had expected to receive photographs of young men who were over the age of 18.
The young men in the magazines were not engaged in sexual activity and his receipt of the magazines were legal under both federal and Nebraska law. Within three months, however, the law with respect to child pornography changed and receiving sexually explicit depictions of children through the mail became illegal.
For the next 2.5 years, two Government agencies, through five fictitious organizations and a bogus pen all, explored Jacobson’s willingness to break the new law. The government sent the defendant several brochures, mailings, materials, and questionnaires from the fake organizations. Eventually, the defendant placed an order for a pornographic magazine showing boys having sex and he was arrested upon it’s delivery. After his arrest, his home was searched. The Government found no materials other than what they had sent to him to indicate that he was actively interested in child pornography.
At trial, he defended himself on the grounds of entrapment. He was found guilty.
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