Supreme Court Case of Jacobson v. United States

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Jacobson v. United States, 503 U.S. 540 (1992) Prior to the Child Protection Act of 1984, which made the purchase of child pornography illegal, Keith Jacobson of Nebraska, ordered child pornography from a bookstore. At the time of the transaction, the purchase was legal under both state and federal laws. Following the establishment of the Child Protection Act, Jacobson’s name was noted on a mailing list form the bookstore where he made the purchase. The discovery of his name led to Government agencies and “pen pals” mailing Jacobson as a way to explore if he would break the law. The efforts began in 1985 and persisted for two and a half years. The mailings consisted of various questionnaires, and literature on the legalization of child pornography. One of the letters supplied Jacobson with a list of “pen pals” that had similar responses to the questionnaires; however, Jacobson did not initiate any contact with them. Following his failure to contact any of the names provided, the Government began to commence communication. Jacobson began to receive letters from these fictitious pen pals but stopped responding after only a couple of them. Government agencies also supplied Jacobson with various brochures advertising pornography of young males. After repeated efforts, Jacobson made the decision to make a purchase. He was arrested upon its delivery. Jacobson pleaded entrapment, that the government agencies induced a behavior that would have otherwise not been committed. He
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