US: Judge approves legal fees for trans woman prisoner, denies personal costs

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A US judge has approved the payment of legal fees to the lawyers representing a trans woman prisoner, who is to be allowed gender-reassignment surgery as treatment for her gender dysphoria.

The legal fees total $724,000 (£446,000), and were approved in a tentative ruling by Judge Mark Wolf, of Boston Massachusetts, for the case of Michele Kosilek, who will be given gender-reassignment surgery in prison, reports the Boston Herald.

Judge Wolf, however, rejected Ms Kosilek’s request for $698 (£430), in personal postage costs relating to the case.

Ms Kosilek’s lawyers had requested $806,000 (£496,000), but had reduced the amount to $739,000 (£456,000), the majority of which will be paid as per today’s ruling.

Judge Wolf, of ruled in September that Ms Kosilek would be given gender reassignment surgery in prison, as the “only adequate treatment” of her gender dysphoria. He also ruled that her legal costs should be covered.

He said: “there is no less intrusive means to correct the prolonged violation of Kosilek’s Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care.”

Her attorneys had previously offered to waive their fees, excluding out-of-pocket expenses, on the condition that the Department of Correction did not appeal against Judge Wolf’s ruling.

It was revealed on 26 September, that the Department of Correction intended on appealing against the decision by Judge Wolf.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Ms Kosilek previously filed a motion requesting the court to prepare a surgeon and location for the surgery, as well as security and transportation plans for moving her to and from the hospital.

Michelle Kosilek identifies as female but is incarcerated in an male-only prison. She was previously known as Robert, was married to Cheryl Kosilek, and was convicted of murdering her in 1990.

She received a life sentence, with no parole, had attempted to take her own life, and to self-castrate since being locked up in the all male prison in Norfolk, Massachusetts.

The ruling remains tentative, as Judge Wolf will issue a formal letter with details of the ruling, which may vary slightly.