United States v. Farner

251 F.3d 510 (2001)

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United States v. Farner

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
251 F.3d 510 (2001)

  • Written by Sharon Feldman, JD

Facts

Robert Farner met a supposedly 14-year-old girl online and kept in contact with her for three months through instant messaging, email, and telephone calls. Farner attempted to persuade the girl to have sexual relations with him and sent her four pornographic pictures. Farner arranged to meet the girl to engage in sexual activity. When Farner arrived at the designated meeting spot, he was arrested by an adult Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent who had posed as the underage girl as part of a sting operation. Farner was indicted for attempting to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce a minor into engaging in sexual activity. The district court denied Farner’s motion for a judgment of acquittal, finding that Farner had believed the FBI agent to be a minor and acted on that belief. Farner argued on appeal that the district court erred in denying his motion because his defense was not factual impossibility but legal impossibility: the minor was actually an adult, and therefore it was legally impossible for him to commit the charged crime of attempting to induce a minor to engage in sexual activity.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kazen, C.J.)

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