Articles Posted in Federal Courts

Readers of this blog know that I’ve blogged previously on the twisted subject of Robert Kosilek, and his multi-year legal battles with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, more specifically with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. Kosilek, of course, is the (now famous, due to his legal battles) psychotic murderer, who killed his wife in 1990, then dumped her body in a trash dumpster. At trial, he was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

However, all that time to think about things, brought a ‘revelation’ to this esteemed guest of the Commonwealth: To wit, that he wasn’t Robert Kosilek, he was really a woman – Michelle Kosilek. And he wanted something “done” about that. And he wanted the taxpayers to pay for that something – specifically, ‘sex reassignment surgery’ otherwise known as a sex change operation – to turn Robert into Michelle. The Massachusetts DOC summarily rejected this request, at which point Kosilek sued the DOC – and, stunningly, won in lower court decisions. In 2012, much of the case seemed closed in Kosilek’s favor as U.S. District Court of Massachusetts judge Mark Wolf ruled in Kosilek’s favor in 2012 – ordering the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (read: its taxpayers,) to provide and pay for a sex change operation for Kosilek. What was judge Wolf’s legal reasoning? That to deprive this insane murderer a sex change operation, would constitute “cruel and unusual punishment,” in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

As a Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, I was shocked at that contorted vacancy of legal reasoning. The Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel & unusual punishment was meant to ban twisted and medieval methods of punishment and torture such as beheadings, burning people at the stake, drawing & quartering prisoners, floggings, and similar. That a federal judge could equate the state’s refusal to provide a psychotic, convicted murderer’s demand for a sex change operation, with “cruel and unusual punishment,” is, in plain English, downright scary.

It is with considerable disappointment, disbelief and even anger that I write of what I will here today.

23 years ago, a piece of human filth by the name of Robert Kosilek murdered his wife, Cheryl, in act of savage brutality. When he was done slashing her to death, he dumped her body in a trash bin. Kosilek was convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, where he remains today at MCI/Norfolk. Except that during his tour as a lifetime guest of the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC,) he decided that he was “really” a woman , and began wearing women’s makeup and growing his hair long. That shouldn’t surprise anyone these days, should it? After all, life is about changes, isn’t it? After a while, he wasn’t satisfied with the Maybelline look, so what did he do? He got the bright idea of seeking a sex change operation (something that ten years ago was considered freakish, and in our “culture” now seems like nothing at all.) But, you see, Mr. Kosilek didn’t plan on paying for this himself. Of course not. So what did he do? The “natural” thing, of course: He sued the state of Massachusetts, seeking to force the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) to pay for it.

The DOC, of course, refused. So Mr. Kosilek – with lawyers paid for by you and me, the taxpayers, sued in federal court, seeking an order forcing the state of Massachusetts to pay for this “sex reassignment surgery.” Judge Mark L. Wolf (the L should be for “Liberal,”) of the U.S. District Court in Boston, ordered in a September 2012 decision that the state of Massachusetts was required to provide the surgery for this murderous, fried example of a human being. The esteemed Judge Wolf’s legal reasoning? It would be “cruel and Unusual punishment” to deprive poor Mr. Kosilek of this “urgently needed” operation. Thankfully, the state of Massachusetts appealed the judge’s decision to the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. Everyone in the legal community waited with baited breath.