Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,400+ case briefs...

Alexander v. United States

United States Supreme Court
509 U.S. 544 (1993)

Alexander v. United States


Alexander (defendant) was in the adult entertainment business for over thirty years. He worked with pornographic magazines and sexual paraphernalia, sexually explicit movies, and sold and rented sexually explicit videotapes. He received shipments of these materials at a warehouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they were wrapped in plastic, priced, and boxed. Alexander then sold his products through thirteen retail stores in several different Minnesota cities, generating millions of dollars in annual revenues. Alexander was convicted in a full criminal trial in district court of seventeen obscenity counts and three counts of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The obscenity convictions and three RICO convictions were based on the jury’s findings that four magazines and three videotapes sold at several of Alexander’s stores were obscene. Alexander was sentenced to six years in prison and fined over $100,000. Additionally, the district court ordered Alexander to forfeit to the United States government (plaintiff) certain assets that were directly related to his racketeering activity as punishment for his RICO violations. The court ultimately ordered Alexander to forfeit his wholesale and retail businesses (including all the assets of those businesses) and almost $9 million acquired through racketeering activity. The government decided that it would be better to destroy the forfeited expressive materials than sell them to members of the public. Alexander argued that this forfeiture violated the First and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution. The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s order, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Dissent (Kennedy, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 373,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,400 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial