Wednesday, September 5, 2012
He Said/She Said
Interesting stuff going on here in MA.
Convicted killer Michelle Kosilek, who at one time was Robert Kosliek, an MCI Norfolk inmate serving life for the 1992 strangling of his wife and disposing of her body in a North Attleboro mall, has spent many years waging a legal battle with the state to pay for a sex change operation. Kosilek's doctors have diagnosed the inmate with gender-identity disorder and say that his "mental illness" has caused him to attempt suicide and self castration. Those same doctors have prescribed gender reassignment surgery.
Yesterday, Kosilek scored a victory when US District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that denying the surgery violates his Eight Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment and his/her right to adequate medical care.
"She really appreciates the careful consideration of the court and the respectful decision," said Kosilek attorney Frances S. Cohen.
But there are those who don't share in that appreciation.
State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said following the controversial ruling that it sets a bad precedent for future cases and is, "well beyond the scope of reason, and an unjustifiable expansion of the requirements of the Eight Amendment." Senator Scott Brown was more to the point calling it "an outrageous waste of taxpayers dollars."
So the question lies in what constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment". Is it cruel to expect an inmate to serve his/her time trapped in the body of someone they are not? Or unusual for a "woman" to serve her time in the "male" inmate population when a 2009 University of California, Irvine study found that a transgendered inmate is 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.? Yet is it cruel and unusual to deny proper medical treatment to any inmate; transgendered or not?
Yesterday Kosilek scored a legal victory but I'm thinking this war is not over. Wether he gets his surgery or not, 20 years ago his wife Cheryl had no legal recourse when he chose to end her life. There was no appeal to Kosilek's ruling that he was going to kill her. No "careful consideration" to strangling her and dumping her body in a mall.
And all because he chose to utilize cruel and unusual punishment and murder her.