Washington The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Kansas City pharmacist's appeal of his 30-year sentence for diluting chemotherapy medications.
Robert Courtney was sentenced in 2002 after pleading guilty to diluting drugs for seriously ill patients and keeping the money for himself. Prosecutors have said 4,200 patients and about 98,000 prescriptions were affected by the scheme.
As part of a plea agreement, Courtney's lawyers approved a sentencing range of between 17 and almost 22 years in prison, with an upper limit of 30 years if the judge found reasons for a longer sentence.
U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith sentenced Courtney to the 30-year maximum.
Courtney's lawyers had argued that Smith should not have considered claims of "serious bodily injury" in cases to which Courtney admitted but was never charged and "extreme psychological injury" based on statements from his victims and their families.
They said such claims had to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before they could be considered in the sentencing.
The U.S. Supreme Court returned Courtney's case last January to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration of his sentence. It was part of a ruling that invalidated sentences for 450 defendants who claimed the federal guidelines under which they were sentenced are unconstitutional.
The appeals court upheld the sentence and the appeal returned to the nation's highest court.
Courtney is serving his sentence at a federal prison in Cumberland, Md.