Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Statement on DOC Appeal of Kosilek Ruling

I released the following statement today, following reports from a Patrick Administration official that the Department of Corrections will appeal U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf’s ruling that the state must provide gender reassignment surgery to convicted murderer Robert Kosilek at taxpayers’ expense:

“I understand that the administration is preparing to move forward with an appeal, and I applaud this decision. Challenging the court’s ruling in the Kosilek case is the right thing to do, and I am glad the administration has finally reached that conclusion. The Department of Correction is to be commended for standing up and opposing this outrageous request and for taking the necessary action to prevent it from being legitimized by a legal decision.

The decision to appeal this unprecedented federal court ruling requiring the state to fund sex reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer is responsive to the request that I and more than 50 legislators have made, and to the interests of the taxpayers and citizens of the Commonwealth. Requiring the state to fund a medical procedure for a first-degree murderer that many private citizens cannot afford and that those receiving medical coverage from the state do not have the option to receive undermines the public’s confidence in government and our institutions of corrections and justice.

By seeking an appeal, the state is saying loud and clear that precious taxpayer resources will not be prioritized to fund a protracted and expensive surgery for a first degree murderer. Allowing a single federal judge to undermine the better judgment of the correction department would have risked irreparable damage to the relationship we have with, and duty we owe to, the public.” Attached below is a copy of the letter I sent to DOC Commissioner Luis Spencer on September 12, which was signed by 54 other legislators, urging him to appeal Judge Wolf's decision.
9.12.2012 Gender Reassignment Surgery Kosilek Appeal DOC Letter