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Transgender
inmate in landmark case charged again

Transgender
inmate in landmark case charged again

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A transgender inmate freed from prison last year because she was dying of AIDS has been charged with using a forged Maryland death certificate to fake her death and get new criminal charges against her dismissed.

A transgender inmate freed from prison last year because she was dying of AIDS has been charged with using a forged Maryland death certificate to get new criminal charges dismissed. Dee Deirdre Farmer, 41, was charged Wednesday with forging a Baltimore circuit court order to change the death certificate of a man named Charles Smith to reflect that Farmer was the person who had died. Charging documents showed that Farmer got criminal charges in Virginia dismissed using a forged Maryland death certificate. In a landmark case, Farmer sued federal prison officials over a 1989 rape that occurred about a week after Farmer entered a federal maximum-security prison for men in Terre Haute, Ind. Farmer had arrived with male sex organs and breast implants, after undergoing estrogen therapy. The lawsuit claimed the government had violated Farmer's constitutional right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment by ignoring the risk that a feminine-appearing inmate would be raped by other prisoners. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1994 that prison officials can sometimes be held liable for inmate assaults revived Farmer's lawsuit, which had been dismissed by lower courts. After the Supreme Court decision, however, she lost the case at trial. Farmer was serving a 20-year federal sentence for credit-card fraud, followed by a 30-year sentence for credit-card fraud in Maryland. In February 2005, Chief Judge Joseph F. Murphy Jr. of the Maryland court of special appeals freed Farmer from a state prison near Hagerstown, saying the inmate, then described as blind, bedridden, and dying of AIDS, was no longer a threat to society. ''When I cut him loose, my recollection is that it was on the basis of documentary evidence that he was HIV-positive and that his life expectancy was very, very short,'' Murphy told The [Baltimore] Sun on Wednesday. Murphy said he decided to release Farmer on probation ''in the hopes that that might encourage him to remain crime-free while he was out with what little time he had left.'' Farmer was born male and underwent a sex-change operation. She legally changed her Maryland birth certificate a few years ago to reflect that she was a woman named Dee Deirdre Farmer, according to court documents. In December, Farmer was arrested in a department store in Baltimore County for allegedly applying for and using store credit cards in other people's names. She identified herself as Larry Prescott, although she later gave the name Dee Farmer, and appeared in court on those charges dressed as a man, said Baltimore County prosecutor Michelle Samoryk, who said that Farmer did not appear to be ill. Farmer was charged in December as Larry G. Prescott, 44, with identity theft, identity fraud, and theft for allegedly opening fake Nordstrom credit card accounts. Dee Deirdre Farmer was indicted in January on five counts of mail fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft for allegedly obtaining more than $50,000 in money and property by opening fraudulent credit accounts. Nicholas A. Szokoly, the lawyer who helped win Farmer's release last year from prison, was surprised to learn of the new charges. ''I was hoping he would get some peace,'' the lawyer said. ''I was looking forward to Dee being able to return home [last year] and have some quiet time with his family.'' (AP)

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