US: Trans prisoner may be given legal costs as well as surgery.
The legal costs of a trans woman incarcerated in a male prison, who has been allowed to have gender reassignment surgery whilst still serving her sentence, may also be eligible to have her legal costs covered, a court has ruled.
Judge Mark Wolf, who also ruled that Michelle Kosilek be granted the surgery, in a legal first, said that she should also have her legal fees paid by the state. Her fees haven’t been calculated, but have been likened to those of a similar, $500,000 case.
He said: ”Kosilek has prevailed on his claim that the defendant has violated his Eighth Amendment rights and is continuing to do so. Therefore, he is eligible to be awarded his reasonable attorney’s fees and costs,” reported the Associated Press.
The amount she is eligible for has not been confirmed, but Judge Wolf said that they were ”likely to be large,” because of the length of time they cover.
Attorneys acting on behalf of Ms Kosilek have until October 4 to file for their fees, but have offered to waive them, excluding out-of-pocket expenses, on the condition that the Department of Correction does not appeal against Judge Wolf’s ruling.
“The firms have offered to waive their fees in exchange for Miss Kosilek getting court-ordered relief without further appeal,” said Frances Cohen, attorney.
The Department of Correction have not commented to say whether or not they will appeal Judge Wolf’s original ruling. The department can do so until October 9.
Complaints from the DoC have claimed that after the surgery, Ms Kosilek could be a target for sexual assaults, citing security risks. Judge Wolf, however, said these claims were: ”either pretextual or can be dealt with.”