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Late in the evening on the night of February 22nd 1984, Keith Jacobson ordered two explicit magazines for his personal leisure. These two publications ordered were titled “Bare Boys 1” and “Bare Boys 2” from a California based adult novelty shop. Keith Jacobson claims is that he did not know that these two publications included pre-teen nudity of young boys which violated the provision of the Child Protection Act of 1984. Only ninety days after Jacobson received the illegally explicit magazines the law banned all types of pornography of underage children. What interests me the most of this Supreme Court Decision was the government originated entrapment that ultimately decided Jacobson’s Guilt.
During the time the nude publications were ordered by Jacobson the act of viewing child pornographic material was permitted, or in Jacobson’s case – not yet attended to. Subsequently, the Child Protection Act of 1984 made the acceptance of any mailing with sexually explicit children illegal. When Agents found Jacobson’s name on the bookstore mailing list, two Government agencies sent mail to him through five fabricated organizations and a phony pen pal, to investigate his willingness to break the law.
Receiving the fabricated government mailing for over two years, Jacobson eventually let into his personal explicit interest and ordered a bogus publication which would have included under age teenage boys involved in sexual activities. He was arrested after a controlled delivery of the magazine, but a search of his house revealed no materials other than those sent by the Government and the Bare Boys magazines.
During Jacobson’s trial he pleaded entrapment and testified that he had been curious to know the type of sexual actions to which the last letter referred and that he had been shocked by the Bare Boys magazines because he had not expected to receive photographs of minors. He was convicted, and the Court of Appeals confirmed.
The main issue in this Supreme Court decision that caught many peoples attention including my self includes many factors that seem unjustified. The time Jacobson purchased the magazines they were legal. The government intended for Jacobson to fall into many different counterfeit organizations to trap him into shame. For the jury the question they were faced with was whether Jacobson willingly committed himself into an illegal activity, or was he unlawfully tricked by the Government’s sting operation.
From the Governments point of view, Jacobson’s indictment does not include Jacobson’s personal psychological fantasies, yet rather that act of physically willing to break the law as he attempted to receive the illegal material of minors. For the ones who oppose the indictment, their decision was made with the design that Keith Jacobson was the unwary citizen. Who also believe that Jacobson may have not even ordered the illegal material if he was not exposed to the opportunity as often as the fabricated mailings were received at Jacobson’s residence.
Due to the Supreme Court hearing taking effect in the early nineties, the idea of a homosexual was not nearly as open or accepted in society as today’s standard of an ideological acceptance. Keith Jacobson had a great disadvantage. Not only was he curious in homosexuality, but he was also inclined to view underage nudity and explicit material. For the general public he was labeled as a pedophile or a possible rapist therefore greatly decreasing his chance for any public support.
With the shame and misfortune weighing down on Jacobson’s shoulders, Keith Jacobson ultimately lost the court battle with a 5 – 4 decision. Not only did Jacobson lose the court battle, he also lost the dignity for the rest of his life. Keith Jacobson will always be known as the homosexual pedophile. Was it really fair? Would someone’s personal intimate fantasies be adequate evidence to be labeled as a crude criminal? When is it justifiable for police and governmental protection services to use aggressive acts of entrapment? These are the questions that were raised in the early 1990’s as this case was underway. The topics were very personal, therefore also making a notable Supreme Court Case as the undercover police actions that brought Jacobson to his conviction – could also unknowingly happen to anyone else.
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