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United States v. Jackson

United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
488 F. Supp. 2d (D. Neb. 2007)


Facts

Jackson (defendant) had chatted online with a person known as “k8tee4fun”, which he believed to be a 14-year-old girl. K8tee4fun was in fact an agent of the Postal Investigation Service, David Margritz. Margritz set up a meeting with Jackson at a local park. On August 14, 2001, Jackson drove past with his daughter, but did not stop. Officers then went to Jackson’s home and arrested him. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Kokrdra was initially assigned to the case, but did not do anything on it for two years before his retirement. Another attorney was then assigned to the case. On February 24, 2005, a grand jury indicted Jackson for using his computer to knowingly attempt to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity. Jackson sought a motion in limine to prohibit the government from introducing a cut-and-paste document of his online chat conversations with Margritz. At the hearing, Margritz testified that there were no original documents of the chat conversation with Jackson because his computer was wiped clean in a routine upgrade a few years after the investigation. Margritz did, however, cut and paste the conversation from the chat window into a Word document. However, he admitted that some offline messages were not captured in the Word document. Margritz made two version of the cut-and-paste document – one with just the chat conversation and one with Margritz’s comments and notes. The former document was also lost during the computer upgrade. The prosecution sought to introduce the version with Margritz’s notes. Jackson brought in a computer forensics expert, Kevin Peden, who testified that a bit-stream image of the chat was the best way to confirm the chat. Peden testified that cutting and pasting the chat was the least effective way of capturing the chat. Jackson contended that the cut-and-paste document did not accurately reflect the conversation between him and Margritz. Jackson claimed that he intended to introduce the 14-year-old girl to his grandniece and that his intentions were reflected in offline messages not captured in the cut-and-paste document.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bataillon, J.)

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