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NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: (Summer 1993) Pages: 13-15,57- 59
M L Piccarreta; J Keenan
Date Published
6 pages
In Jacobson v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Jacobson's conviction for knowingly receiving child pornography through the mail because the government failed to establish that Jacobson, who claimed entrapment, was independently predisposed to commit the crime.
Jacobson ordered two magazines and a brochure from an adult bookstore in Nebraska in 1984. The magazines displayed nude photographs of preteen and teenage boys, but the photographs were not sexually explicit and the receipt of the magazines was legal under Federal and State law. Three months later, Congress enacted the Child Protection Act of 1984 which criminalized the knowing receipt through the mail of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Jacobson was subjected to repeated efforts by government agencies to explore his willingness to break the new law by ordering sexually explicit photographs of children through the mail. Jacobson's entrapment defense was rejected by the jury and his conviction was affirmed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Eighth Circuit's finding that Jacobson had not been entrapped as a matter of law. The Jacobson case raises questions as to an individual's right to be left alone by government officials until some act provides the government with justification to meddle in his or her affairs, permissible law enforcement tactics once an undercover operation has begun, and the propriety of government conduct.


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