The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the appeal of an infertility doctor convicted in Virginia of using his own sperm to inseminate women and tricking others into believing they were pregnant.
The court, without comment, turned down Cecil B. Jacobson's argument that he was convicted of fraud and perjury merely because prosecutors convinced a jury that his medical theories were wrong.Jacobson, a Utah native, also contended his trial judge should not have allowed some prosecution witnesses to testify anonymously.
Jacobson, who practiced in Vienna, Va., was convicted of 52 counts of fraud and perjury in 1992. He was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $116,805 in fines and restitution.
Federal prosecutors said Jacobson may have fathered as many as 75 children by inseminating patients with his own sperm. The doctor told the women he was using anonymous donors who matched their husbands' physical characteristics.
Eleven former patients who said Jacobson fathered their children testified under pseudonyms. Most used disguises. The judge let them testify anonymously so their children would not learn that Jacobson was alleged to be their biological father.
Those witnesses testified that they never would have let Jacobson inseminate them if they had known he was using his own sperm.
Prosecutors also said Jacobson used hormone injections to create false symptoms of pregnancy in other patients. He was convicted of convincing some women they had suffered multiple miscarriages when they actually had never been pregnant at all.
In the appeal acted on Monday, Jacobson's lawyer said the prosecution amounted to an improper federal effort to regulate the doctor's medical practice.
Allowing some witnesses to testify anonymously denied Jacobson's constitutional right to confront the witnesses against him, said his lawyer, who also contended Jacobson was improperly sentenced.
Justice Department lawyers said Jacobson "engaged in classic schemes to defraud: He repeatedly deceived, and lied to, his patients about their medical treatment in order to obtain their money."
The decision to let some witnesses testify anonymously was justified by a "compelling interest in protecting the well-being of their children," government lawyers said.
Jacobson is serving his sentence at a federal prison camp near Florence, Colo.
Other court action
- Ruled that municipal garbage-to-energy plants must treat the ash they produce as hazardous waste if it contains dangerous material.
- Refused to let the University of Colorado resume random drug-testing for student athletes, trainers, managers and cheerleaders.
- Rejected an appeal by reputed mob leader John Gotti of his 1992 murder and racketeering convictions.
- And, in a separate case, rejected appeals by former reputed mobster Raymond "Junior" Patriarca and four other alleged members of a New England organized crime group.