RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals panel said Monday that a Virginia inmate is entitled to a full court hearing on her lifelong quest for a sex-change operation.
The three judges of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals returned Ophelia De’Lonta’s case to a lower court, concluding that her constitutional claim should be heard. She contends that the denial of her sex-change operation amounts to a violation of her Eighth Amendment freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.
A federal judge in Roanoke dismissed De’Lonta’s self-filed lawsuit in 2011 after he concluded the Virginia Department of Corrections was adequately treating De’Lonta.