Friday, April 17, 2015

Requirement to Register Administrative or Punitive? A Third Failure to Register Administrative Information Due to “Murky Rules” Could Send Josh Gravens to Prison for 25 Years to Life, a Punitive Punishment

For new readers, here is the event that occurred that led to the below.

We in Virginia know all too well aboutmurky rules” that the state of Virginia makes no effort to advise our RSO’s of.

Mary
 

Sex offenders registry may put man back in prison for offence committed as child, April 16, 2015
Aged 12, Josh Gravens committed a sex-related felony. Charged with failing to update his register details, he now, aged 28, faces a possible 25 years to life in jail
By Anna Codrea-Rado

Josh Gravens is trying to figure out how he’s going to tell his five children that he might be going to prison for a very long time.

Gravens, 28, is a one-time convicted juvenile sex offender facing a possible 25 years to life sentence for a felony related to a crime he committed in his childhood, and for which he has been to prison already. The current charge is not a repeat sex offence; he just failed to correctly update his personal information with his local police department in Texas.

Sex offender registration is a complex set of rules mandating how former inmates should live their lives after they have been released from prison for committing a sex crime. Failure to do so can carry heftier punishments than that of the original crime.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Imagine That Your Spouse Develops Dementia and Must be Placed in a Facility, You Continue to Have Sex With Them and You are Charged with Rape…. It’s Happening in Iowa, to a Former Lawmaker.

 
Update: 

Former Iowa legislator Henry Rayhons, 78, found not guilty of sexually abusing wife with Alzheimer’s, April 23, 2015
 

Original Post:
I’ve been following this case for 2 weeks now and finally decided to share the below links with readers today. I’m not going to post my view, concerns or comments I’ll let you come to your own conclusions. 

Mary
 

Should Alzheimer’s Patients Be Allowed to Have Sex? April 15, 2015

Sex, Dementia and a Husband on Trial at Age 78, April 13, 2015

In an Iowa courtroom, an astonishing case of sex and Alzheimers, April 7, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Jim Nolan: Watchdog group's report hits Virginia's General Assembly on Transparency. “When lawmakers are pressed for time, they often take shortcuts that prevent the public from monitoring and participating in the proceedings.”

 
Update:
Transparency Virginia - Website
The Virginia General Assembly: The case for improved transparency - Report

Original Post:
 
Watchdog group's report hits Va.'s General Assembly on transparency, April 15, 2015
By Jim Nolan

The House of Delegates and Virginia Senate routinely called public meetings of legislative committees with little or no notice and denied scores of bills a hearing, according to a report released Tuesday. 

The House either did not take a recorded vote, or any vote at all, on 76 percent of the bills that were killed in subcommittee or committee, according to the report by Transparency Virginia. 

A volunteer coalition of 29 nonprofit groups and associations that advocate and lobby in the General Assembly, it compiled the report after spending hundreds of hours monitoring the recently concluded 45-day General Assembly session. 

Lawmakers return to Richmond today to consider the governor’s vetoes and his proposed amendments to bills, including omnibus ethics legislation, and bills dealing with technology and government surveillance. 

The group said its goal is to promote discussion about how to improve transparency in government, keep residents better informed and make participation easier. 

The report plums the depths of the murky process for proposing, considering and disposing of legislation that keeps the average citizen in the dark and can leave even some seasoned observers scratching their heads. 

“Bills were introduced but then left in committees without ever being added to an agenda, much less given a hearing,” said Transparency Virginia participant Megan Rhyne, of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government.
 
“Bills were defeated by unrecorded voice votes, allowing some lawmakers to avoid responsibility and disallowing others from making their position known. Meetings were called with notice so short as to make it virtually impossible for anyone other than the committee members to attend,” Rhyne continued.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Virginia’s 2015 HB1533 and SB976 (both failed) Had an Ulterior Motive, To Continue Cycling Our SVP’s Through the Virginia Prison System Which is Much, Much Cheaper than Civil Commitment

 
As I posted yesterday I attended the first Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission meeting of 2015. The presentations from the meeting still have not been posted online so I can not provide a link to the issue I am posting about here. 

During the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session one of the many bills I monitored but did not oppose was HB1533 (and its companion SB976) Obscene sexual display in a public place; third offense, penalty. 

What did HB1533 and SB976 propose to do? 

Per it’s summary it would have ……Added engaging in an obscene sexual display, i.e., actual or explicitly simulated masturbation in a public place, to the list of misdemeanor sex offenses for which the penalty for a third offense of any of the listed offenses committed in a 10-year period is a Class 6 felony. 

When it comes to legislation adding or increasing second and third offense penalties (that are not simultaneous), I don’t oppose them.  

In yesterday’s VCSC presentation it was noted on page 25 that two bills from the 2015 session with fiscal impact statements produced by the VCSC staff were sent to JLARC by Virginia Delegates who did not agree with the finding. It turns out this is allowed but rarely occurs, 0-2 times per year according to VCSC. One of the 2 bills sent to JLAC during session was HB1533 . 

On page 30 of the VCSC presentation it breaks down the VCSC analysis of HB1366 and how they came up with 7 additional prison beds being required at a cost of $207,232 for each year if HB1366 became law in Virginia. 

Then on page 33 JLARC’s conclusion of their analysis of VCSC’s work was given and I sat in the meeting stunned because I THEN realized at that very moment what the true intention of HB1533 and SB976 had been.
 

Don’t Be So Hysterical About Sex Crimes: A study on offenders that indicates a genetic tendency has some sinister implications, By Lionel Shriver

 
Don’t be so hysterical about sex crimes, April 11, 2015
A study on offenders that indicates a genetic tendency has some sinister implications
By Lionel Shriver
 

In the film Minority Report, police employ psychics who foresee offences before they’re committed. The special unit “PreCrime” swoops down to arrest citizens before they break the law. We’re not there yet, but a large Swedish study has nudged us an inch towards Philip K Dick. 

Across more than 20,000 cases of male sex offences in Sweden 1973–2009, men with brothers or fathers convicted of sex offences were five times more likely than average to commit the same kind of crime. (The chances were 2.5% if sexual predation ran in the family, 0.5% among the general male population.) The study’s authors brandish numerous disclaimers: they’re not giving offenders an excuse, proposing male relatives of rapists be imprisoned or isolating a sex-abuse gene. But they believe the finding of a broad genetic proclivity paves the way for prevention strategies. As one forensic psychiatrist put it: “If interventions can be provided that are not harmful, this is an opportunity.” 

Imagine being the son or brother of a man imprisoned for sexual assault – traumatic in itself. A social worker rings the doorbell. She offers therapy, anger management or gender–sensitivity training – when you’ve done nothing wrong. Wouldn’t you slam the door in her face, after telling the busybody from PreCrime where she can shove her “prevention strategies”?
 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Michael Hiltzik: Another (Incredibly Trivialized) Attack on Social Security -The Scandal That Isn't: Sex Offenders Scamming Social Security

 
Another (incredibly trivialized) attack on Social Security, April 10, 2015
By Michael Hiltzik
  • The scandal that isn't: Sex offenders scamming Social Security
  • How to make a mountain out of a molehill: Pretend that Social Security going to 18 convicts is a big deal
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-trivial-attack-on-social-security-20150410-column.html

 
The National Journal, an elite newsmagazine that claims to be "regarded as the most influential publication in Washington," is trumpeting a big scoop about Social Security on its homepage. 

"Social Security Doles Out More Than $500,000 to Sexual Predators," the Journal reports.  

Since the National Journal also claims to be "fiercely honest and scrupulously non-partisan," this sounds like something worth looking into.  

So let's do so.
 

The Results are in for 2015 General Assembly Legislation/Bill Totals, for the First Time in 10 Years “Sex Offender” Bills with Fiscal Impact to State Budget Were NOT in the Top 3, BUT The Grand Total of “Sex Offender” Bills in 2015 Was Almost Identical to 2014!

 
First…. a Side Note: 

Have you ever wondered what Virginia Delegates and Senators submit the MOST Bills (proposed legislation) during a General Assembly session? 

How about what Virginia Delegates and Senators submit the LEAST number of Bills? 

What about their success rate, getting a bill through session to be signed, vetoed or amended by the Governor? Are there ANY Legislators who don’t get any bills passed or what about a 100% success rate, are there any? 

Well….just yesterday I found a news article that broke down these specific numbers for the 2015 session into two interactive charts. What’s the batting average for Virginia legislators? http://rvanews.com/news/whats-the-batting-average-for-virginia-legislators/124058 and it’s VERY interesting!
Ø       Of the 793 bills introduced in the Virginia Senate in 2015, 344 passed. That’s a 43.37% success rate.
Ø       Of the 1,125 bills introduced in the Virginia House in 2015, 455 passed. That’s a 40.44% success rate. 

OK……. 

A quick reminder for readers, the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission (VCSC) is not a Legislative branch like the Virginia State Crime Commission (VSCC), members of the VCSC can be found here http://www.vcsc.virginia.gov/about.html . The VCSC is a Judicial branch, they mainly conduct studies and gather data on sentencing guidelines in Virginia. They hold 4 public meetings per year, the meetings begin at 10am and usually end around 12-noon, they are open to the public but very few people ever attend.   

The VCSC held their first meeting of 2015 today which always includes the “Top 7 Fiscal Impact Requests” for Legislation during the last Virginia General Assembly session, information I look forward to receiving as a volunteer advocate who attends the Virginia General Assembly session to oppose myth-based Sex Offender legislation. I attended today's meeting and have my copy of the full presentation which has not yet been posted on the VCSC website I've added the 2015 numbers to the last 9 years worth of data . 

Virginia State Police Spokeswoman Corinne Geller: “The bottom line is NOT every sex offender is prohibited from being on school property”


Henrico school security system organizes visitors, but can't stop intruders, April 13, 2015
By Ted Strong

As focus on school security has increased, school divisions have turned to high-technology solutions to lock children away from outside threats. But sometimes that new technology is far from a foolproof solution, and security still depends on the vigilance of teachers and staff. 

Take J.R. Tucker High School in Henrico County as an example. 

The school has a new, high-tech system to identify visitors and check them against sex offender registries. But it is still a campus-style school with students traveling between rooms along open-air walkways, and it is visible from Parham Road. 
 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Over-Criminalization of America Isn’t Just Too Many Laws…… it’s Because of Prosecutorial Discretion, Overcharging and Stacking Charges, Dissolution of Mens Rea, Limited Financial Means for Most Citizens, Unlimited Prosecutorial Funds, Mandatory Minimum Sentences, Standard Plea Bargaining, Truth-in-Sentencing (elimination of parole) and Absolute Prosecutor Immunity

 
While reading this editorial (George Will: When everything is a crime http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-everything-is-a-crime/2015/04/08/1929ab88-dd43-11e4-be40-566e2653afe5_story.html?wprss=rss_homepage ) which I highly recommend...... I clicked on the link to the below paper and I liked it so much I decided to share it. 

I’ve said it before…….. plea bargains should be banned, if a Prosecutor can not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a judge and or/ jury then a conviction should not be allowed, seems that Mr. Reynolds agrees.

Mary
 

Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is a Crime
July 2013
Glenn Harlan Reynolds
 

Introduction 

Prosecutorial discretion poses an increasing threat to justice. The threat has in fact grown more severe to the point of becoming a due process issue. Two recent events have brought more attention to this problem. One involves the decision not to charge NBC anchor David Gregory with violating gun laws. In Washington D.C., brandishing a thirty-round magazine is illegal and can result in a yearlong sentence. Nonetheless, the prosecutor refused to charge Gregory despite stating that the on-air violation was clear.1 The other event involves the government’s rather enthusiastic efforts to prosecute Reddit founder Aaron Swartz for downloading academic journal articles from a closed database. Authorities prosecuted Swartz so vigorously that he committed suicide in the face of a potential fifty-year sentence.2

Both cases have aroused criticism. In Swartz’s case, a congresswoman has even proposed legislation designed to ensure that violating a website’s terms cannot be prosecuted as a crime.3 But the problem is much broader. Given the vast web of legislation and regulation that exists today, virtually any American bears the risk of being targeted for prosecution.
 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Are You Finding the Information You are Looking For? It’s All Here.



  1. Daily new articles from across the country are added to the In the News page.
  2. Older articles get moved to Archived News page until they become more than one year old and then they are deleted.
  3. Books, Studies, Reports page
  4. Virginia’s Legal Restrictions and Regulations for RSO’s page (Do’s and Don’ts) AND for Legal Do’s and Don’ts Brochure
·         Virginia School Bus Stops
  1. Virginia Legislative Goals page  AND Building a Better Registry Brochure
  2. Annual VSP Monitoring Report of ALL RSO’s
  3. Virginia Code (Legal Statutes) for ALL Sex Crimes and Registration Issues
  4. Employer Info for All 50 States
  5. Type of Registry: Risk or Conviction Based / Public or Private for All 50 States
  6. How Many RSO’s are in each State? Track the Last 7 years of growth in ALL 50 States
  7. Sex Offender Registration: Constitutional or Unconstitutional – List of Court Challenges and Rulings page
  8. Real Recidivism (Re-Offense) Rates for Registered Sex Offenders
  9. Traveling as a Registered Sex Offender
  10. What about AWA and SORNA ?
  11. Do you know who your State Representatives are? How about your Federal Representatives?
  12. For 2015 Virginia General Assembly and Legislation information (page will get deleted in November in anticipation of 2016 GA session)
  13. For 2015 Federal Legislation, look down the right side of the Home page under the U.S. Capitol photograph for widgets from GovTrack.com
Plus all the posts (newest on the Homes page) that include news articles, editorials, action items, pending legislation and much, much more. 

Mary Devoy

Frank Green: “If Michael McAlister is committed [to the VCBR], unless he admits he committed the crime and submits to treatment it is unlikely he ever will be released from the state’s behavioral treatment center, in Burkeville”.


RICHMOND POLICE DEPARTMENT

Police photos of Michael Kenneth McAlister (left)
and Norman Bruce Derr that were used in McAlister's 1986 trial .
Pardon sought for man who claims innocence but is facing sex offender commitment, April 8, 2015
By Frank Green

His prison sentence ended in January, but Michael McAlister remains behind bars and could spend the rest of his life in custody for crimes he insists he did not commit. 

Legal machinery now is in motion to hold him indefinitely for treatment as a violent sex offender, based on 1986 convictions for abduction and attempted rape. Those are crimes he always has denied committing — and an innocence claim long supported by the detective who investigated him. 

In what may be McAlister’s last chance to clear his name and avoid life in the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, a request for an absolute pardon will be handed to Gov. Terry McAuliffe today along with a plea that he act before May 18, when a probable cause hearing is set as part of the civil commitment process. 

Pardon requests can take months if not years to resolve without DNA or other smoking-gun evidence. A spokesman for McAuliffe said Tuesday that his office handles pardon requests the same way as other governors, by forwarding them to the parole board for an investigation and recommendation. 

McAlister had a pardon request rejected in 2003 by then-Gov. Mark R. Warner, whose office and parole board spent 10 months considering it. 

Since then, however, more information supporting McAlister’s claim has come to light, and this time his petition is backed by a prosecutor. 

“Mr. McAlister’s case presents the nightmare scenario we all fear — overwhelming evidence of systemic failure at just about every juncture,” said Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring, who was a college student when McAlister was convicted in 1986. 

Herring said that shortly after McAlister’s trial the prosecution team had doubt about his guilt, but “the concerns were ignored. Roughly 29 years later, the commonwealth is poised to double down on its mistake by seeking to have him declared and held as a sexually violent predator for a crime he didn’t commit.” 

Added Herring: “I think our justice system is one of the best on the planet. But this case makes me ashamed of it.” 

As McAlister’s prison term neared an end, his sexual assault convictions set in motion the civil commitment process and state law bars McAlister from challenging the validity of his convictions. Only a pardon from the governor can stop the risk of civil commitment at this point, McAlister’s lawyers say.
 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Pope Francis 2015 Easter Homily: “Go beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and go out in search of truth, beauty and love”

 
The official Vatican translation of the Pope’s homily at the Easter Vigil in St Peter’s Basilica: 

Tonight is a night of vigil. The Lord is not sleeping; the Watchman is watching over his people (cf Ps 121:4), to bring them out of slavery and to open before them the way to freedom. 

The Lord is keeping watch and, by the power of his love, he is bringing his people through the Red Sea.

He is also bringing Jesus through the abyss of death and the netherworld. 
 

This was a night of vigil for the disciples of Jesus, a night of sadness and fear. The men remained locked in the Upper Room. Yet, the women went to the tomb at dawn on Sunday to anoint Jesus’s body. Their hearts were overwhelmed and they were asking themselves: “How will we enter? Who will roll back the stone of the tomb?…”
 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fredericksburg Virginia Editorial: What are all these Alford pleas about?

 
Every reader here knows what “all the Alford Pleas are about”! (See below editorial)

In Virginia with sexual assault, sexual battery and many other sex crimes…. the accusation IS the EVIDENCE. 

Virginia Code was rewritten years ago (Rape Shield Laws) and the words no corroboration is required was added, to lower the burden of proof that the prosecution must provide. And then years after that Virginia Code has been re-written and re-written again raising the penalty for these crimes to a prison sentence of Life Plus 20 years. LIFE Plus 20 in a State with NO Parole! Mandatory Minimums like these tie the judges/juries hands if the case actually goes to trial and if a finding of guilt is handed down there can be no wiggle-room, it’s “Life Plus 20”. 

More than 94% of criminal charges/convictions NEVER make it to trial in Virginia; they are settled with a plea deal. 

Not because the person charged is guilty but because they are facing charges that do NOT require the Prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and a mandatory minimum hangs over their head.

Going to trial in America for a sex crime has actually turned into a no-win-situation for the average person.

Unless you can afford a $100,000+ attorney who will actually invest the time and effort to prove your innocence because the Prosecution isn’t required to prove your guilt you are forced to take any offer that is given no matter how unjust it is. 

And if you don’t take “the deal” offered I know for a fact that some Commonwealth Attorneys threaten to release the mug shot, name, home address and charges of the Virginian facing sex crimes to the local evening news broadcast……What else does an innocent person who doesn’t have $100,000+ for a competent defense do?

They take the Alford plea!!!!!!!!!! Instead of facing the court-of-public-opinion that will most likely result in the loss of their job and possibly their home all while they attempt to defend themselves (and their family) against a crime that “requires no corroboration” you can’t do that without income and a home. 

94% of criminal convictions in the Commonwealth end with a plea deal; it’s a win-win for the State and the Prosecutors resume, but not for our citizens or for justice! 

Mary Devoy
 

Editorial: What are all these Alford pleas about? April 1, 2015
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Every week somewhere in the Fredericksburg area, a defendant pleads guilty in a criminal court while at the same time claiming to be innocent.

It’s called an Alford plea, and it’s become routine in the courts of Virginia. News reports about such pleas are usually accompanied by an almost boilerplate explanation that the accused does not admit guilt, but acknowledges there is sufficient evidence to be convicted.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Virginia Plaintiff Needed: What if We Challenged HB1366 in Court?

 
 
In the last 4 weeks of waiting for Governor McAuliffe to either veto or sign HB1366 into law I was considering a court challenge against the new law. Now that it has been signed by the Governor I’ve circled back with a legal group on doing just this. 

A legal challenge requires a plaintiff, facts showing the injury has or will most certainly occur, and a legal argument (vs. a policy argument) about why the new law is bad.   

In order to challenge any law, you have to have a plaintiff who is someone who has standing to bring a legal claim (i.e., someone who has been or will definitely be “injured” by the law), and you have to show what the injury is and how the injury offends the law.   

To get an injunction against a new law from going into effect, you also have to be able to show that your legal case is so strong that you have a “likelihood of winning on the merits” and that a damages claim would not be sufficient to remedy the harm caused.  

At the moment a civil liberties group is considering this for HB1366. 

But first we need a plaintiff.
 

Update: Virginia Delegate Jeffrey Campbell’s “Recipe for Disaster” Bill HB1366 Has Been Signed by Governor McAuliffe to Become Law in Virginia on July 1st 2015!

 
Virginia Delegate Jeffrey Campbell’s Bill HB1366 Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school or other property; hearing (a deception title) was signed into law by Governor Terry McAuliffe this past weekend. 

I had hoped the statements the ACLU of Virginia made to the media (below) against HB1366 after I single-handedly opposed it in the Virginia House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee meeting (even after the Virginia Senate amendments, weeks later) would have resonated with our Governor, but they fell on deaf ears. 

Past News Articles on this Bill:
·         Campbell: Sex offender bill would stir up angry mobs, February 12, 2015
·         Should sex offenders be allowed to visit their own child at school? February 3, 2015
·         ACLU questions new sex offender bill, January 20, 2015
·         VIRGINIA ACLU: New sex offender bill 'invitation to throw stones’, January 19, 2015
·         Campbell to co-sponsor bill to keep training center open, January 9, 2015
                Delegate plans to introduce several bills in General Assembly session

Myth, fear, hate, vengeance and prejudice wins out yet again while facts, equal justice under the law, unbiased and fair hearings before a judge and the very foundation of our Rule of Law are not just trampled  but thrown-out-the window by our elected officials because they deem certain citizens “unworthy” and they continue to allow their emotions to write and pass our laws. 

Past Posts, and Action Alerts on this Bill:
·         March 7, 2015
·         February 17, 2015
·         February 11, 2015
·         February 10, 2015
·         February 3, 2015
·         January 29, 2015
·         January 20, 2015
·         January 17, 2015
·         January 1, 2015
·         December 4, 2014 

I tried my best to stop HB1366 from becoming law, I’m sorry everyone! 

This year was my 7th General Assembly session and sadly it was one of my most unsuccessful ones. Right now I feel disappointed and defeated. I can’t believe after 7 years of advocating for you and your families I am still more often than not the only person who stands up in opposition to these hateful bills every year in Richmond.

I oppose bills that have nothing to do with me or my family, but I stand up against them because it’s the right thing to do. And yet, I continue to stand alone (most of the time).

I receive email’s daily from readers complaining about the registry, the restrictions and the collateral damage but when new and harsher laws are being proposed, where are YOU? 

I receive email’s daily from readers asking for my help to get them off the registry, to do a court challenge (pro-bono) or to get them exonerated. Most email’s are about you, what you need, what you want, what I should do to help YOU!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Update: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Signed Robby’s Rule 2015 HB1353 Into Law (and Probably SB1074 Too)

 
Per Virginia Delegate David Ramadan’s Face book page, Governor McAuliffe signed his House version of Robby’s Rule 2015 into law yesterday. It’s not noted in LIS yet but there is always a delay. 

I had hoped the letter sent from the ACLU of Virginia to Governor McAuliffe asking him to veto Robby’s Rule 2015 and the reasons why would have resonated with our Governor, but sadly naming laws that would not have prevented the original crime from occurring after a victim and that will do more harm than good is still the status quo in Virginia. 

Myth, fear, hate, vengeance and prejudice wins out yet again while facts, due process and successful re-entries into our communities are claimed to be important and to matter....... but the proof-is-in-the-pudding. They don't!

I sincerely hope someone who had not committed a crime in 25 or 35 years and is placed on this VSP Supplemental Registry challenges Robby’s Rule as a violation of ex post facto or a denial of due process….and they win......overturning the entire VSP Supplemental Registry. 
 
I tried my best to stop Robby’s Rule 2015 from becoming law, I’m sorry everyone! 

Mary Devoy
  

ACLU Virginia "denounces" McAuliffe's signing of sex registry bill, March 27, 2015


Richmond, VA – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia today condemned Governor McAuliffe’s action on two bills that will create a new sex offender registry, SB 1074 and HB 1353. 

“We are disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign these bills,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga. “Not only does it create an added punishment beyond any penalty handed down as a part of a criminal conviction, it also fails to provide any rational connection to public safety.