Convicted killer Michelle Kosilek’s demand for sex-change operation rejected


http://www.bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/herald_bulldog/2014/12/convicted_killer_michelle_kosileks_demand_for_sex

A federal appeals court ruled today that transsexual wife-killer Michelle Kosilek’s push for a sex-change operation has been denied — possibly ending two decades of costly legal wrangling.

“The district court erred and that the care provided to Kosilek by the DOC does not violate the Eighth Amendment. We therefore reverse the district court’s grant of injunctive relief, and we remand with instructions to dismiss the case,” the court ruled.

Kosilek has one last possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A federal judge ruled in 2012 that Kosilek, 65, needed the surgery for gender identity disorder, but state prison officials challenged the ruling. Kosilek, who was born Robert Kosilek, is serving life in an all-male prison for killing his wife, Cheryl McCaul, in 1990.

“This litigation has now spanned more than twenty years and produced several opinions of significant length,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit wrote. “The district court thus erred by substituting its own beliefs for those of multiple medical experts.

“Upon consideration whereof, it is now here ordered, adjudged and decreed as follows: The district court’s order of injunctive relief is reversed, and the matter is remanded to the district court with instructions to dismiss the case,” the court ruled.

The topsy-turvy case also included Boston’s U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf awarding Kosilek’s defense team $724,000, to be paid by taxpayers, for the long legal battle.

The appeals court wrote today they were asked to rule if Kosilek’s right against “cruel and unusual punishment” was being violated by the state Department of Correction’s fight to deny him the sex-change surgery. The court added the entire matter also “gave rise to new concerns related to safety and prison security,” if Kosilek would need to be transferred to the state’s women’s prison in Framingham.

In a lengthy ruling, the appeals court said sending Kosilek to MCI-Framingham would raise many troubling issues.

McCaul’s niece, Laura J. Brandel, told the Herald today she’s glad the court finally stopped the “stupidity.”

“He’s not going to die or bleed to death if he doesn’t get the surgery,” Brandel said. “It is a joke. If it goes to the Supreme Court, they’ll see it’s a joke, too.

He killed somebody. He nearly decapitated her,” Brandel said of her aunt, whom she called a beautiful lady. “My mother cried her eyes out for months. … I’m happy with this decision. It’s about time.”

Developing …

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