This is the harvest reaped from SCOTUS's injection into prison jurisprudence, a-la Wilson v. Seiter, of the oh-so-precise standard of "evolving notions of societal decency." To truly get a picture of the legal legerdemain at work here, let's try to bring this idea a little closer to home. I'm bald. That's depressing. My county insurance won't pay for me to have hair transplant therapy. That compounds my depression. But, under the theory of this case, should I go to the greybar Hilton for a long time, the taxpayers would fund my therapy at no cost to me in order to to vindicate my constitutional rights and relieve my suffering. As Chief Justice Gray would say, "balderdash!"
As Eighth Amendment law currently stands, prison officials are required only to avoid deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of an inmate. They are not required to secure the latest, greatest or even the inmate's preferred therapeutic regimen. They only must act to prevent harm the potential of which they are subjectively aware. That means if someone is markedly suicidal, prison officials must make efforts to prevent a successful suicide. The argument here, I suppose, is that the only truly efficacious way to do that is to fund a sex-change operation. Assuming a sex-change operation would be the panacea it's being peddled as being here, if we dive into that pond, where is the bottom? What of the inmate who goes to prison for life and, as a result, has his parental rights terminated and that causes depression and suicidal ideation? Does this novel legal theory mean that the state must grant him full parental access and, failing that, release him from prison to "cure" what ails him? This should be an easy case, but -- alas -- the expert fees alone confirm that it is anything but. Common sense is dead. Funeral arrangements are pending. The body will not be available for viewing. Schedule your own wake.
Indeed, in light of the current thread on curtailing descriptive language used by witnesses, I hereby announce that I find the plaintiff's theory in this case offensive, and move to strike.
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001
What else have these guys, er, gals, er, well you know what I mean, what else do they have to do but sit behind bars and ascribe all sorts of injustices to themselves, via their often tortured legal interpretations.
JAS, you should've saved that for Jail Mail Theater, notwithstanding it is in another jurisdiction and that it is not your case. I believe a special waiver could be procured from Jane to allow the interpretation of this story.
Posts: 2578 | Location: The Great State of Texas | Registered: December 26, 2001