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Battista v. Clarke



In February 1983, Sandy Jo Battista (born David Megarry) was convicted and sentenced to 12 to 20 years for the rape of a child under 16, unarmed robbery and kidnapping. Battista was temporarily committed in December 2001, then civilly committed to the Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons in May 2003 for one day to life as a sexually dangerous person. But Battista is more than a child rapist; he claims to have gender identity disorder, and wants taxpayers to pay for hormone treatment and be provided with female garb and accessories. The prison refused, noting that a female appearance, such as the breasts that would grow upon hormone treatment, would endanger Battista's safety in prison, and would create problems under the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Because Battista breaks prison rules regularly, he could not be put in a different facility. But a BigLaw firm, McDermott Will, represented him pro bono, and won an injunction requiring the treatment on the grounds that it rose to a constitutional violation for him not to get his requested treatment, including women's attire.

The First Circuit, in a panel including former Justice Souter, has affirmed. Yes, choice of clothing for prisoners and the ability to grow breasts now rises to constitutional significance. [NLJ; NLJ]

So keep in mind, when you hear that there needs to be civil Gideon and more taxpayer funding of civil litigation, because there isn't enough pro bono help from law firms, that at least one law firm with over $1.5 million profits per partner has hundreds of hours of attorney time to spare for a poorly behaved rapist who wants gender reassignment therapy at taxpayer expense.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.