October 24, 2012
(AP) - A federal appeals court is considering whether a lower court should hear a Virginia inmate's request for a sex change.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case Wednesday of Ophelia De'Lonta, who has been hospitalized in past self-castration attempts.
Attorneys for the convicted bank robber asked the judges to reverse a lower court ruling that dismissed De'Lonta's case. Arguments focused on narrow constitutional claims. Judges typically rule a month or two after arguments.
De'Lonta's attorneys want her case returned to U.S. District Court so they can argue for a sex change operation.
Attorneys for De'Lonta say a medical professional should decide whether the surgery is appropriate - not a judge or prison officials.
De'Lonta has received hormone treatments and psychotherapy.