JACOBSON v UNITED STATES 504 US 540 (1992) 112 S.Ct. 1535

504 US 540 (1992)
112 S.Ct. 1535
Keith Jacobson, a Nebraska farmer, purchase 2 magazines prior to 1984
depicting nude minor boys. The Child Protection Act was passed in 1984
which outlawed child pornography, including the type of photos in those
magazines. In 1985, several government agencies, attempting to enforce the
new law, began sending Mr. Jacobson brochures and other publications
seemingly with the theme of child pornography. For about 2 ½ years the
government sent mailings from 5 different fake organizations purporting to
share the same interest in young ment. They also arranged for someone to
write to Jacobson pretending to be a like-minded man. Everything being sent to
Jacobson was promoting sexual liberation and challenging government
censorship of such photos.
Jacobson eventually ordered photos from a “company”, actually the
government, and was arrested. He was tried and convicted in the state court of
causing the prohibited photos to be sent through the mail. His conviction was
appealed to the Eighth District Court and then the United States Supreme
The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the prosecution proved
beyond a reasonable doubt that Jacobson was ready, willing, and able to
violate the law, independent of the government’s relentless campaign urging
him to do so.
The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the lower court, throwing out
Jacobson’s conviction and sentence. The Court ruled that the prosecution had
not successfully overcome Jacobson’s claim that he was entrapped into
committing the crime. Government agents may not originate a criminal plan,
put it into an innocent person's mind, and then orchestrate the commission of
the crime so that the Government may prosecute.
The government clearly stepped over the line in this case. The only
pornographic material possessed by Jacobson is what the government sent to
him. He had, prior to that, not pu