Federal Judge Mark Wolf ruled this week that convicted murderer Robert Kosilek can use the public’s money to pay for a sex-change operation so Robert can become “Michelle.” Wolf says Kosilek needs the surgery because he tried to commit suicide and suffers from self-loathing. But isn’t that exactly the right emotion for a guy who slaughters an innocent human being?
A Massachusetts federal court this week ruled that convicted murderer Robert Kosilek can use the public’s money to pay for a sex-change operation so Robert can become “Michelle.”
Kosilek sued the Department of Corrections claiming his federal constitutional rights had been violated by the state prison system’s refusal to pay for the operation.
Judge Mark Wolf agreed with Kosilek’s reasoning that surgery is the “only” appropriate option because Kosilek suffers from depression and other mental health problems that experts say are caused by the fact that the guy still has male body parts.
Wolf ruled that it was “cruel and unusual punishment” to deny Kosilek’s request to have his man-parts removed, though the very idea of castrating a prisoner conjures up images of a Soviet Gulag. Now that I think about it, where are all the angry ACLU members who claim castration is cruel and unusual …... never mind.
Judge Wolf spent little time in his 126-page decision discussing the vast body of law that significantly limits the constitutional rights of prisoners. They can’t vote, bear arms, march in protests, etc., although like anyone in state custody, they are entitled to “necessary” medical care, but not the care of their choice.
Wolf says Kosilek needs the surgery because he tried to commit suicide and suffers from self-loathing. Putting aside the timing of the guy’s attempted suicide, (occurring conveniently after Wolf’s first ruling several years ago where it was determined that hormone treatment and psychotherapy would likely be sufficient), isn’t self-loathing exactly the right emotion for a guy who slaughters an innocent human being? The guy SHOULD feel horrible, for the rest of his life!
Prisoners should never be treated THAT MUCH better than law-abiding citizens lest we encourage people to commit crimes in order to get themselves extremely expensive, free, medical care in prison - like the guy who robbed a bank a few years back, then demanded to be arrested and incarcerated because he needed surgery and couldn’t afford it.
Watch the uptick in lawsuits as prisoners start making wild demands, citing Judge Wolf in court motions that begin with the sentence, “If Robert Kosilek is entitled to a sex-change operation, then I should be allowed to have [fill-in-the-blank].” The possibilities are endless because virtually everything prisoners want by way of medical and mental health care will be perceived as a less extreme request than a sex-change operation.
Judge Wolf knew the public’s reaction would be hostile, which may well be why he did it. He clearly feels compassion for transgender individuals.
Some people recoil and have cruelly mocked the contrast between photographs of Kosilek as a once handsome man and the more recent images of the guy with long hair, wearing a dress and lipstick. It’s sad to hear so much hatred for what the guy looks like. Men who find pleasure dressing in women’s clothes aren’t hurting anyone.
But feeling bad for the guy is no reason to overcompensate and punish the public for what Wolf may perceive as unfair bigotry. Indeed, Wolf’s in-your-face, far-longer-than-necessary, dictatorial-toned decision effectively admonishes the public for even thinking about criticizing his ruling. The public can respect even a wildly controversial legal decision, but not if it’s issued by a judge who acts like a king.
Judge Wolf is widely regarded as a decent guy, and his decision may well be rooted in a sincere belief that it’s the right thing to do. But decent guys don’t always make for good judges. Good judges know they have a responsibility to the public, and they are duty bound to render decisions irrespective of their personal desires.
Judge Wolf seems to realize how off-base his ruling is because his writing is defensive and needlessly redundant, as if he needed to convince himself that he was doing the right thing. The protest-too-much quality of his ruling may well attract the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court, though it denied review in a similar case earlier this year. While several other states have faced federal lawsuits from prisoners seeking sex-change operations, all the courts, including even very liberal jurisdictions, have refused to order taxpayers to foot the bill, usually on the grounds that sex-change surgery is not medically necessary and that other types of treatment, such as hormone injections and psychotherapy, are sufficient. We may soon find out what the nation’s highest court thinks about the decision of a lone Wolf from Massachusetts.