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Child Molester Awarded $2.5 Million in Attorney’s Fees After Idaho DOC Delayed Transgender Surgery

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After the state refused to immediately pay for transgender surgery, a former Idaho Department of Corrections inmate was awarded millions in attorney fees.

Adree Edmo (formerly Mason Dean Edmo) abused a 15-year-old boy in 2011 while he was asleep. Edmo pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a minor below the age of 16 and was sentenced to 10 years.

Edmo struggled with his gender identity over the next few decades. Edmo sued the state in 2017 for violating Edmo’s Eighth Amendment rights to cruel and unusual punishment. The state had not paid for the transgender surgery. U.S District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled for Edmo in 2018. She ruled that Edmo must be provided with “gender confirmation surgery” by the state DOC, which she deemed necessary “medically.”

The surgery was delayed for two more years due to the fact that the state chose to appeal the decision rather than perform the surgery. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals eventually upheld almost the entire ruling and Edmo was able to have the surgery in 2020. This made Edmo the second U.S. prisoner to receive the procedure while still incarcerated. After the procedure, Edmo moved to a women’s prison and was released in 2021.

The attorneys who had previously represented Edmo filed a lawsuit for $2.8 million in damages. They claimed that they had taken the case “on a contingency basis”. Judge Winmill agreed to the reduction, but she increased the amount to $2.5million.

Winmall stated that federal law requires that defendants pay reasonable attorney fees and costs to civil rights plaintiffs who prove that their civil rights claim has been violated. “This order, therefore, reflects that law.”

It is not clear when Winmall made his ruling.

Although the state didn’t win in its defense, it made clear to the public that the taxpayers would not pay for Edmo’s legal fees. In December, Corizon Correctional Healthcare, an insurance provider, reached a deal to pay Edmo’s legal fees. The state DOC, however, agreed to not compel Corizon.

Edmo was represented several times by different lawyers, including Craig Durham and Deborah Ferguson of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Howard Belodoff was another defense lawyer. He questioned the decision of the state to appeal the District Court’s initial ruling.

Belodoff stated, “They choose that.” “And if they do so, the consequence is that you lose. It’s that simple.”

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