Massachusetts Will Appeal Inmate Sex-Change Ruling

Finally, Massachusetts officials have seen the light – at least on one subject. They are about to appeal a federal judge’s decision to grant convicted murderer murderer Robert –or should I say Michelle — Kosilek’s request for sex reassignment surgery. In other words, he wants to be a she. And yes, a federal judge in Boston ordered that this surgery be performed on him, and at taxpayer’s expense.

I’ve filed a post about this before. Here’s a brief recap of the history of this matter. Convicted murderer Robert Kosilek, who killed his wife and dumped her body in the trash at a local mall almost 20 years ago, has claimed that he needs sex reassignment surgery and that denial of this surgery for himself denotes “cruel and unusual punishment.” Yes, a federal judge agreed with him, and recently ruled that the sex reassignment surgery is the correct treatment for Kosilek’s gender identity disorder, going so far as to describe it as a “serious medical need.”

The judge’s ruling prompted a huge outcry among some legislative leaders — and the public –who say Kosilek isn’t entitled to the taxpayer-funded surgery. At least we can be thankful for that display of sanity, but that doesn’t reverse this judge’s ruling.

In my opinion as Dedham criminal defense lawyer, for any judge to conclude that for a state to refuse to provide sex reassignment surgery for this or any inmate constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment,” strains credulity. All anyone needing context on this question needs to do is go back to the motivating origins of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.” This Amendment was enacted to prohibit torture such as the rack, starvation, being flogged until dead and other atrocities (many of which, I should say, occur in other countries outside of the USA — have you ever watched the TV show Locked Up Abroad?)

But to contort this reasoning to order that the state should give a prison inmate who thinks he is “really a woman, trapped inside a man’s body,” a free sex-change operation – at taxpayer’s expense – is beyond credible reasoning. Terming the denial of this surgery “cruel and unusual punishment” strains basic logic and common sense. It also wastes our tax dollars. As a Dedham criminal defense lawyer, I fight for criminal defendants’ legal rights to the best of my ability, and I believe that both defednants’ and inmates’ rights should be safeguarded vigilantly. But this judge’s decision to order the state of Massachusetts to provide taxpayer-funded sex-change surgery for a murderer crossed a line and is an example of liberal judicial activism gone amuck. I support the appeal of this judge’s ruling, and will keep you posted as this appeal moves forward.