Jacobson v. United States

503 U.S. 540 (1992)


Jacobson (D) ordered two magazines and a brochure from a California bookstore. The magazines entitled Bare Boys I and Bare Boys II contained photographs of nude preteen and teenage boys. The young men were not engaged in sex acts and D's receipt of this material was legal under federal and Nebraska state law. Within three months, that legality changed from the passage of a new law. The ever-vigilant postal inspectors found D's name on a mailing list. Over the next 2.5 years, the postal inspectors engaged in efforts on five occasions to entice D into breaking the new laws. No laws were broken by D. After 34 months, there was no evidence that D had ever illegally possessed child pornography. The government then decided to turn up the heat and mailed D brochures advertising young boys engaging in sex. D placed an order that was never filled. Another sting was instituted, and D ordered a magazine depicting boys having sex at which point in time D was arrested. When his home was searched, the only material found in D's house was the legal material he possessed and that sent by the government in its sting operations. D was tried, convicted, and appealed based on entrapment. The Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction, holding that P had carried its burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt that D was predisposed to break the law and hence was not entrapped. D appealed.