United States v. Jacobson
Federal Supplement 1992; 785: 563-569
Court Decision: 785 Federal Supplement, 563; 1992 Jan 9 (date of decision). The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted in part the Government's motion to protect the true identities of parents and children involved in a criminal fraud case against a doctor accused of using his own sperm in the artificial insemination of his patients. Dr. Cecil B. Jacobson represented that the female patients would be inseminated with sperm from an anonymous donor. The Government alleged that the doctor used his own sperm to inseminate the patients. The District Court decided that significant psychological harm may result to the children if the parents' true identities were disclosed in an open court. In order to safeguard the children's well-being, "information regarding their paternity should be revealed to them in a careful manner and directed by their parents." Rather than close the courtroom, the District Court balanced a First Amendment and common law interest in openness and narrowly tailored measures to protect parent and child privacy. The court permitted the parent witnesses to use pseudonyms, excluded sketch artists from the courtroom, sealed judicial documents containing identifying information regarding the parents or children, and redacted all identifying information from copies of the sealed documents in the public file. [KIE/INW]
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