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Massachusetts

Prisoner awarded gender reassignment surgery, attorneys seek legal expenses

Friday, October 5, 2012

NORFOLK, Mass. — Convicted murderer Michelle Kosilek — who was granted taxpayer-funded gender-reassignment surgery ordered by a federal judge — is demanding $698 in reimbursement for legal expenses for arguing her case from behind bars, and her attorneys are seeking fees of around $800,000, according to documents filed this week in U. S. District Court.

Kosilek, who has been diagnosed with gender-identity disorder, won the right to gender reassignment surgery after U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Wolf said in a 126-page ruling issued last month, that the treatment for Kosilek had been prescribed by Department of Correction doctors, and that the only justifications for denying the treatment were based on public opinion.

Michelle Kosilek

The state is appealing a Wolf’s ruling to allow Kosilek to undergo the gender reassignment surgery.

Kosilek, who first sued the Massachusetts Department of Corrections 12 years ago, is asking that the court reimburse her legal expenses:

“I incurred the following out-of-pocket expenses,” Kosilek writes in a hand-written note that was included in today’s filing. Those expenses, she writes, include: $496.86 for stamps; $156.18 for bulk postage; $26.10 for envelopes; $7.80 for copies; $11.75 for filing fees.

“Having prevailed, I am asking the court to order the defendant to reimburse me for my expenses. Signed under pain and penalty of perjury, Michelle Lynne Kosilek,” the filing reads with her signature.

The total amount sought is $698.69.

In the same filing, Kosilek’s attorney, Frances S. Cohen, cites the Prison Litigation Reform Act in demanding $644,573 in attorneys’ fees and costs of $161,873 — for a total of $806,446.

Cohen justified her expenses and fees, writing that she had fought for a client who had an “unpopular diagnosis.”

“Prosecuting this case was a huge undertaking by many measures,” Cohen wrote. “Plaintiff’s counsel has borne the burden of keeping an often frantic and distraught client informed.”

Cohen had previously offered to waive her firm’s fees, excluding out-of-pocket expenses, on the condition that the Department of Correction does not appeal against Judge Wolf’s ruling. In a legal brief filed last Friday, attorney’s for the Department of Corrections notified the court of their intention to appeal the decision.

Kosilek, who is serving a life sentence, has been housed in an all-male correctional facility in Norfolk, Mass., after being imprisoned for the 1990 murder of her spouse Cheryl Kosilek. Wolf said it would be up to prison officials to decide how and where to house Kosilek following the surgery.

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21 more reader comments:

  1. Wow…….Thank God for her…….Now she can live in peace and be the person she was born to be and live as.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 3:54pm
  2. WHAT!?!? um how bout NO!! i’m all for the gender reassignment thing but I’m not all about paying for it for a convicted killer! hell no!!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 3:54pm
  3. I don’t think this is right. Murderers shouldn’t get special treatment. This is ridiculous.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 3:58pm
  4. I completely agree with Christy.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:00pm
  5. How about the victim. This person’s late wife, whom he murdered and hid the body. That doesn’t sound like someone who is deserving of our sympathy. Not mine anyway. Sorry, no sympathy for murderers. Now this person is going to a woman’s prison? I think this person would be liked more at a men’s prison.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:02pm
  6. We should not be paying for anything of this at taxpayer expense. Her family can pay for it. I am not against gender reassignment.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:04pm
  7. Kind of mixed on this one. She’s a murderer.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:04pm
  8. All for equality! But bitch Plz … Shouldn’t have murdered ur wife then u wouldn’t be n this position! Make me sick!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:10pm
  9. At the taxpayers expense??!! Only in America does a felon get preferential treatment…

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:13pm
  10. Do you know how many transgender people there are all over this country who are wonderful, law-abiding citizens who contribute and give back to our society? Taxpayer dollars are going to pay for gender reassignment surgery for a MURDERER, but not for caring people who actually contribute to our communities? I’m SORRY, but if you MURDER someone you should not be able to get this surgery on taxpayer dollars! This is ridiculous. This is just fucking sad. There are so many transgender people more deserving in my opinion…I think this is an insult to those people.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:14pm
  11. insanity to the max!!! and lord knows i love me some trans-gendahs!!! :) lets just cut her dick off

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:15pm
  12. I don’t think this was right…..We have to pay…and she gets it pretty much free of charge….while the tax payers pay….

    Robert….no…just no…..She doesn’t deserve this. she should have to pay like the rest of us!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:19pm
  13. This murdering bitch needs to get a shank in the gut from her fellow prisoners. Felons have no right except the right to die.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 4:46pm
  14. I am all for LGBT rights. I am a card carrying member, but if someone is convicted of murder they shouldn’t get anything except maybe food. What a bunch of crap.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:04pm
  15. I think it’s BS there are people who are out there that are really fighting for their lives because of their identity that financially can’t afford it that could use the help. Why help someone who does not deserves it!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:07pm
  16. Reassignment is a privilege. A criminal deserves nothing but the minimal needs to survive while doing their sentence.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:15pm
  17. It should of gone to referendum

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:15pm
  18. Sorry, NO WAY! She’s a murderer. If she or her family can’t afford it, she can stay a man! How this would be punishment is beyond me. So any law-abiding trans-gendered people who can’t afford the surgery, just murder somebody and get it done and paid for while in prison! No problem! What kind of message is that? If you’re law-abiding and need financial help for it, that’s the kind of help needed, not for murderers!

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5:19pm
  19. Food, water, clothing, shelter, and a little socialization is all one needs to survive. SMDH st this article. There are law abiding citizens who need this surgery. If the state is giving away free services then it should start with those who are not inmates.

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 9:46pm
  20. I can’t believe she is asking for reimbursement of stamps, envelopes, and filing fees. WTF

    Posted on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 9:48pm
  21. Complete bullshit…that ugly bitch is already leaching off the system and has the nerve to demand more….there is no way taxpayer money should be used for her surgery and screw her ass face lawyers also….let them pay out of pocket for her surgery if they want her to have it so bad.

    Posted on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 5:38am