Michelle Kosilek: Transgender inmate says state not doing enough for surgery

michelle kosilek transgender inmate boston sex change surgery robert kosilek
Robert Kosilek, who now goes by Michelle, stands trial in January 1993 for the 1990 murder of her wife.
Credit: AP Images

Lawyers for Michelle Kosilek, the transgender inmate who killed her wife in 1990, are urging a federal judge to assess the readiness of the state to provide Kosilek with a sex change, now that an appeals court has upheld the decision.

In documents filed on Monday, Kosilek’s lawyers asked the court to schedule a status conference so that the plan to provide the sex change operation can be discussed. Lawyers said they believe the state Department of Correction is not doing enough to prepare for the court-ordered, taxpayer-funded gender reassignment surgery.

“Such an assessment will show that defendant has violated the spirit, if not the terms, of the court’s orders. Sixteen months has passed since the court’s decision. Yet the Defendant is not close to being ready to provide Kosilek’s surgery due to a clear lack of urgency in taking the actions reasonably necessary to do so,” Kosilek’s lawyers wrote in their filing.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Correction said on Tuesday that the agency is still reviewing the appeals court ruling before it decides whether or not to seek a further appeal.

A federal appeals court judge decided earlier this month to uphold the lower court’s 2012 decision that the state provide Kosilek with the surgery. The surgery was put on hold while the state appealed the decision, but Judge Mark Wolf ordered that the state provide periodic updates on how it is preparing to provide the surgery should the appeals fail.

Kosilek, who was born Robert, sued the DOC in federal court for not providing her with a sex change and claimed it violated her Eighth Amendment rights. Wolf issued a divisive ruling in which he sided with Kosilek, saying she suffered from a “mental illness” that must be treated.

Kosilek is serving a life sentence after being convicted of killing her wife, Cheryl, in Mansfield in 1990.

In his updates to the court, DOC Commissioner Luis Spencer has said the agency has identified an out-of-state surgeon willing to do the surgery, but the physician must be licensed in Massachusetts.

Kosilek’s lawyers said there are other steps the agency can take.

“If the licensing mystery were truly this difficult to solve, the defendant had other options to consider. Most obviously, Kosilek could be transported out of state to where the surgeon is already licensed to undergo the surgery. After all, the defendant’s expertise is in ensuring prisoner safety and security, not in licensing out-of-state surgeons,” Kosilek’s lawyers wrote.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.