On Thursday state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and a coalition of 49 legislators sent a letter to Department of Corrections Commissioner Luis Spencer urging the department to file an appeal to the recent decision from the U.S. District Court in the case of Kosilek v. Spencer.
In Tuesday’s decision U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf ruled in favor of Michelle Kosilek, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without parole, mandating the Department of Corrections to provide gender-reassignment surgery to the convicted murderer.
“We are greatly troubled by the court’s finding that the Eighth Amendment requires the state and the Department of Correction to provide sex reassignment surgery to a convicted murderer,” the legislators wrote.
For years Kosilek, who in 1990 strangled and murdered his wife and is currently serving a life sentence without parole, has argued and now has successfully convinced a court that the Department of Corrections provide the surgery on the merits that he suffers from a high-risk condition if left untreated.
However, the legislators respond in the letter that “the Court’s decision, if left standing, will compel an absurd action by your department. Clearly the Eighth Amendment provides important protections when a person enters our prison system, but it cannot be fairly said to require the state to accommodate every last need and want of convicted murderers.” The letter goes on to say, “a decision that suggests the failure to provide sex reassignment surgery to a first degree murderer equals an 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain' is a decision that must be overturned and therefore must be subjected to appellate review. We ask that you seek that review.”