You think you know where I’m going with this but you better sit down and buckle up your chinstrap. This is one of those stories that I could never understand if I lived for a million years and read a billion law books.
Judge: State must pay more than $700,000 in legal fees to attorneys of convicted murderer who wants sex change surgery
A federal judge said today that he would award more than $700,000 in legal fees to the team of lawyers who represented Michelle Kosilek, the convicted murderer who sued the state for a sex change operation to treat her gender identity disorder.
Chief US District Judge Mark L. Wolf said from the bench in court in Boston that he recognized the cost to taxpayers, but he said the costs derived from a hard-fought lawsuit to preserve Kosilek’s constitutional rights.
He noted that while the state Department of Correction is appealing his decision to order the surgery, Kosilek’s legal team has offered to dismiss their request for legal fees if the state drops the appeal and pays for the surgery.
“Resistance at all costs can end up costing the taxpayers quite a lot,” the judge said, adding that the Department of Correction has had to pay hundreds of thousands in legal fees to lawyers in other cases in which the department violated prisoners’ constitutional rights.
What in tarnation is wrong with Massachusetts? What the hell is wrong with our legal system?
Michelle Kosilek (born c. 1955) is a convicted murderer who has repeatedly sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) seeking medical treatment for gender identity disorder.
In 1990, Kosilek, who was then known by his birth name Robert Kosilek, strangled his wife Cheryl McCaul. Kosilek was sentenced to serve a life sentence without parole in Norfolk, Massachusetts.
Kosilek has been diagnosed with gender identity disorder and identifies as female. In 2000 Kosilek sued the Massachusetts DOC, claiming ‘violation of rights’ under the Eighth Amendment, winning that suit in 2002 and obtaining hormone replacement therapy and psychotherapy for the condition.
In May 2006, Kosilek sued the DOC, arguing that refusing to provide sex reassignment surgery constituted “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment. On September 4, 2012, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that the state had violated Kosilek’s constitutional rights by denying sex reassignment surgery, noting that senior correction officials engaged in “pretense, pretext, and prevarication” to deny the treatment. Wolf ordered the DOC to provide Kosilek with the surgery. The DOC is appealing the decision.
You know, we’re often asked to consider what the Founding Fathers would think about the Bill of Rights in light of events and technology in today’s America. I doubt they’d be very impressed by a judge who can with a straight face (see what I did there) rule it is cruel and unusual when a convicted prisoner is told, “No, we’re not going to split and scrape your dong like a vanilla bean so it can be sewed into a hoohaw.”