Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Comment / Question Box on the Virginia State Police Website is NOT a Legal or a Secure Means for RSO’s to Update Registration Information

Remember the February 9th Action Item I posted after the Baugh v. Commonwealth ruling?
Well I’ve heard the VSP is trying to convince some of you who took action that the comment / question /inquiry box (not an email address) on the VSP website can be used to register changes in your VSP SO data so that counts as an "electronic" means.
Ummmmmm, NO!
Read on.

Emailed to all 140 Virginia Legislators and the Virginia Administration on March 17th.

Dear Virginia Delegates and Senators,

At the end of January 2018, the Court of Appeals of Virginia handed down a ruling on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry that had serious issues/flaws. It was Baugh v. Commonwealth

It has to do with the 2007 Virginia law (
SB1071/HB2749) that mandated all Virginia Registered Sex Offenders must register any change (creation or deletion) in their email addresses with law enforcement within 30 minutes.

On page 12 of the Court decision it references
VA Code § 9.1-903. Registration procedures that an offender can update their email address “either in person or electronically”, so the 2011 Snyder decision from Michigan does not apply to Baugh.

The word ‘electronic’ may exist in VA Code, but it doesn’t exist as a viable option for Virginia’s RSO’s.

NO electronic system has EVER been established by the Virginia State Police in 11 years since the law was passed.

Just a reminder for anyone who doesn’t know:
·       All registration changes for Virginia’s RSO’s must be done in-person during the hours of operation of either their local law enforcement offices or the State Police offices.
·       You cannot call in changes via phone.
·       You cannot email in changes.
·       A SP-236 form must be filled out, signed, dated and thumb-printed for all RSO data changes.
·       Hours of operation for the State Police are 8:30AM-4:00PM Monday-Friday, no evenings and no weekends.
·       There are 12 observed holidays for the VSP.
Of the 12 holidays there are:
- 2 dedicated 4-day weekends.
- 4 dedicated 3-day weekends.
- Then if any of the remaining 4 holidays fall on a Saturday the office is closed that Friday and if it falls on a Sunday it’s closed that Monday.

As for the issues in trying to comply with current VA Code (30 minutes & electronically), I’ve found Patrons 3 different General Assembly sessions to try and fix it.

All 3 times there were 2 options.

To either change the 30 minutes to “3 business days” or “5 days” because of the limited office hours OR to have the Virginia State Police finally create an electronic system that could be an email address that sends a receipt or a portion of their website with a password for identifying it is the RSO submitting the information that also sends a receipt so RSO’s aren’t racing down the interstate trying to make the 30-minute window.
Here are those 3 Bills:
2011- HB1628  (Amended in House Militia, Police and Safety, left to die in House Appropriations)
2012- HB416       (“Laid on the table” instead of voting by the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee)
2016-  SB243      (Failed to Report 6-9, in Senate Courts of Justice) 

Not only did all 3 Bills fail to pass though the Virginia Legislature but they failed specifically because the Virginia State Police Legislative Liaisons opposed them.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Virginia State Police Trooper Had Volunteer Advocate Mary Devoy Removed From Public VSOTA Presentation on VSP Sex Offender Investigations


On March 18th I filed a FOIA with the VSP to obtain a copy of the VSP Power Point presentation given by VSP Master Trooper Shaffier at the 2018 VSOTA Conference. 


Original Post:

Emailed at 4:00PM on 03/15/18:
Dear VSP Leadership and Secretary of Public Safety Moran, 

Back in January I signed up to attend the 2018 VSOTA Conference that began yesterday and ends tomorrow. 

The conference nor any of the presentations require any specific credential’s or certifications to attend, as it is open to all just pay the fee. 

Well today, I was asked to leave the VSOTA presentation given by Virginia State Police Master Trooper Angela Shaffier titled How to Conduct a Sexual Abuse and Sex Offender Investigation because and I quote “of my issues with the Virginia State Police”. 

When I entered the presentation room 20 minutes before the scheduled start time, Trooper Shaffier was sitting at a table with a Hanover Co. Assistant Commonwealth Attorney. Trooper Shaffier saw me, looked puzzled and then said what are you doing here? I replied Attending the conference, why wouldn’t I be here…..I hope that’s not a problem? She then stated she didn’t recognize me at first and I laughed saying that’s because you usually see me with no makeup or in my bathrobe.  

The Asst. C.A. and the VSOTA coordinator looked puzzled at our conversation. 

You see from July 2008 to November 2016 Trooper Shaffier was assigned to conduct my husband’s SO residency checks and she had visited my home 17 times in that period.  

I felt the need to include the two ladies who seemed puzzled so I explained my husband is wrongly listed on the VSP SO Registry and how it happened. Then Trooper Shaffier added that if we weren't home she’d wave at the security cameras and if she made the trip in late November she’d get to see my Christmas display which included antlers that inspired her to then bleach and sell antlers online. I finished up by explaining why we have the security cameras so another false allegation would never be successful. Also at some point Shaffier asked me if our 4th Trooper had yet come by and I filled her in on the stream we've had since she was promoted. 

Then we all did our own thing, checked our phones, etc. A gentleman sat down next to me asked me where I was from and what I do and so I went into my usual spiel on my advocacy and General Assembly work. 

Then as the presentation was ready to begin and the room was filling up the VSOTA Chair asked me to come out into the hall where a second coordinator was standing. 

Denise Hayes of VADOC (VSOTA Chair) said to me I understand you’ve had some issues with the State Police and because of that the presenter would prefer that you not attend the meeting. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Last Action Item of 2018 Virginia General Assembly Session: HB638 and SB526 Uses VSP Sex Offender Registration to Limit and Punish RSO’s Drone Users Far More Harshly Than Other Virginians

03/20/18 Update:

At 11:43AM this morning LIS sent an update on HB638. A deadline of April 9th has been set for Governor Northam to amend, veto or sign it into law.

If you have not yet contacted the Governor about HB638 and SB526 please read the below and take action.

Thank you.


Original Post:

Final/Newest Text for HB638 (and SB526) heading to Governor Northam for his signature:

§ 15.2-926.3. (Expires July 1, 2019) Local regulation of certain aircraft.
No locality political subdivision may regulate the use of a privately owned, unmanned aircraft system as defined in § 19.2-60.1 within its boundaries. Nothing in this section shall permit a person to go or enter upon land owned by a political subdivision solely because he is in possession of an unmanned aircraft system if he would not otherwise be permitted entry upon such land.
§ 18.2-121.3. Trespass with an unmanned aircraft system; penalty.
A. Any person who knowingly and intentionally causes an unmanned aircraft system to enter the property of another and come within 50 feet of a dwelling house (i) to coerce, intimidate, or harass another person or (ii) after having been given actual notice to desist, for any other reason, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
B. This section shall not apply to any person who causes an unmanned aircraft system to enter the property as set forth in subsection A if (i) consent is given to the entry by any person with legal authority to consent or by any person who is lawfully present on such property or (ii) such person is authorized by federal regulations to operate an unmanned aircraft system and is operating such system in an otherwise lawful manner.
§ 18.2-324.2. Use of unmanned aircraft system for certain purposes; penalty.
A. It is unlawful for any person who is required to register pursuant to § 9.1-901 to use or operate an unmanned aircraft system to knowingly and intentionally (i) follow or contact another person without permission of such person or (ii) capture the images of another person without permission of such person when such images render the person recognizable by his face, likeness, or other distinguishing characteristic.
B. It is unlawful for a respondent of a protective order issued pursuant to § 16.1-279.1 or 19.2-152.10 to knowingly and intentionally use or operate an unmanned aircraft system to follow, contact, or capture images of the petitioner of the protective order or any other individual named in the protective order.
C. A violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

As I stated in a post back on March 6th, this revised version is much better than the original text or even the House February 5th substitutes text both which would have made it 100%  illegal for anyone listed on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry from even using a drone.
BUT the new text still creates separate rules / guidelines and an immediate punishment for everyone listed on the VSP SO Registry and NOT for all other Virginians.
Here are the issues:

Monday, March 12, 2018

Status Update on All 2018 Virginia General Assembly Bills that Would Have Affected Registered Sex Offenders or Had to Do with Sex Crimes

The 2018 Virginia General Assembly session adjourned on Saturday March 10, 2018.

Where do the RSO and Sexual Bills stand?
1.     The 4 Emergency Shelter Bills HB187/HB757/SB24/SB49 are dead. YES!
2.    The School Property Bill HB622 is dead. YES!
3.    The Prostitution Bill was amendment with a start date of July 1, 2018. YES! Then it died.
4.    The 2 Teen Sexting Bills SB168/SB607 are dead. YES!
5.    The misdemeanor Statute of Limitations Bill HB1062 died-on-the-vine with no action. YES!
6.    The Sexual Battery Bill HB208 died-on-the-vine with no action. YES!
7.    The Sexual Display third offense Bill HB290 died-on-the-vine with no action. YES!
8.    The 2 Drone Bills HB638/SB526 were rewritten so it’s no longer a crime for an RSO to use a drone. Good,…..BUT the requirements and punishment for RSO’s are still much more strict and swift than for other Virginias, I’ll be posting an Action Item soon to contact the Governor.
9.    The Misdemeanor Crimes Earlier Petition for Removal Bill HB144 died in Sub-Committee. Bummer.
10. The Sex Offenders and Crimes Against Minors Registry; similar offenses; removal from Registry HB902 will most likely be signed into law. I was told by the Patrons office this was to help those from out-of-state and placed incorrectly into the 25-year bucket to petition at 5 years. Turns out that was false. It stops those who have been petitioning at the 15-year mark and places them into the 25-year bucket. Bummer, but I probably wouldn’t have opposed it even if I had been told the truth by Freitas’ office. But I have now learned not to trust him or his L.A.
11.  The Sexually violent predators; assessment protocol Bill SB267 will most likely be signed into law. I think this is a small positive change.
12. The Child abuse or neglect; sex offenders; investigations; reports to law enforcement Bill HB511 will most likely be signed into law. I don’t see this as a big deal, but others might disagree.

So, in summary:
7 categories of Bills that I opposed all died.

The one good Bill (#9) that I had nothing to do with sadly died.

3 Bills (#10-12) that I didn’t oppose or support will probably become law.

The 2 Drone Bills were amended/rewritten to be much better than the original text and they may become law as-is or maybe we can get the Governor to request an amendment, either way at least it’s no longer illegal for an RSO to use a drone.

All in all, 2018 is not a bad year for RSO’s. No new, harsher, retroactive laws were passed. That’s a successful General Assembly session in my book. Yes, I’d like some smart, data-driven Bills to pass but if holding back the tide of new, harsher Bills from passing into law is the outcome, I’ll take it.

Mary Devoy

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Great News! Virginia Bills HB757- Delegates Jay Leftwich and Cliff Hayes AND SB49- Senators John Cosgrove and Lionel Spruill are Dead.

Around 2:30PM LIS updated and it appears the Conference of 3 VA Delegates and 3 Senators failed to come to an agreement for final verbiage on HB757- Delegates Jay Leftwich and Cliff Hayes and SB49- Senators John Cosgrove and Lionel Spruill the Emergency Shelter Bills. These Bills, Failed they are Dead!

We’ll never know what was the sticking point(s) and which particular Legislators refused to budge because it was all behind closed doors. But I have my suspicions on who insisted on particular verbiage and who refused to budge.

I do believe all the email’s and phone calls you all made over the last few weeks helped stop the latest and most cruel version of this proposal.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief for 2018 that this will not be an issue but the same or similar proposal could be submitted for 2019 and if so I will oppose it and I will post action items about it.

Thank you all for taking action against the 4 original Emergency Shelter Bills at this year’s session.

Mary Devoy

How Much Did the Virginia State Police Spend on the Sex Offender Registry and SO Monitoring and Managing in 2017?

As most readers know I have been submitting FOIA’s for the last few years to obtain the annual cost of the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry (costs for managing and monitoring RSO’s, the re-registration letters and the actual database).

These costs are not part of the
annual VSP SO Monitoring Report.

These costs are also not posted anywhere online, so that is why I pay for the information each year.

Why does the cost of the VSP Registry matter? Because if we want
smart reform based on data and a comprehensive efficacy study on our current system we need to know how much has been spent for a group of citizens who have a less than 5% sexual recidivism rate.

Last year (2017) I paid the VSP $44.98 for the 2016 numbers. This week I’ve been charged $71.13 for the exact same data for 2017. I’m really not sure why there was a 58.1% jump in the cost for this information, but so be it.

Per this week’s VSP FOIA, the number of USPS certified letters that went out in 2017 dropped by 2,058 from 2016’s count. But yet they spent $7,849.00 more for the letters than in 2016.

I find this data peculiar as the total number of Registered Sex Offenders goes up every year (not down) so with 569 additional people on the VSP Registry in 2017 how did 2,000+ fewer letters go out?  It does NOT make sense.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Action Item for Virginia Bills HB757- Delegates Jay Leftwich/ Cliff Hayes and SB49- Senators John Cosgrove and Lionell Spruill, Three of the Six Conferees Have Been Selected for the Senate Version to be Debated Behind Closed Doors

Update March 10th 10:15AM:
Today is the last day of the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session (at 12 noon I believe), but there is a planned Special Session because the Budget has not been finalized.

As of right now there is NO update in LIS on SB49 or HB757 on what the 6-member conference decided. I have no idea if anything will be posted today or not, it may be next week.

When there is an LIS update on these 2 Bills I will post about it.
Update March 7th  1:45PM:
The Virginia House has assigned their 3 Conferees and I was off by one (for who I guessed they’d assign), oh well I was close. 
They are:
·       Delegate Rob Bell- R                                  804-698-1058
·       Delegate Jay Leftwich- R                  804-698-1078
·       Delegate Charniele Herring-D          804-698-1046
Original Post:

Back on February 23rd I posted about HB757-Delegates Jay Leftwich/ Cliff Hayes and  SB49- Senators John Cosgrove and Lionell Spruill the “Emergency Shelter” Bills.
As of today, 3 of the 6 “conferees” have been selected to discuss the Senate version behind closed doors and determine if the 6 can agree on verbiage to then  have the chambers re-vote on the Bills before session ends OR to just let the Bills die because no agreement can be reached.

Virginia HB638 Delegates Chris Collins / Mike Mullin has Been Rewritten by the Conferees, It’s Better but NOT Equal or Right.

Back on February 27th I posted an Action Item about Hb638- Delegates Chris Collins / Mike Mullin and the 6-person Conference that was going to be held behind closed doors to decide what the outcome should be.
Late yesterday (March 5th) the results of that conference were posted online.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

One Week Until 2018 Virginia General Assembly Adjourns, (Sine Die). From the Worst-of-the-Worst List, Which Bills are Still Alive?

With one week to go in the 2018 Virginia General Assembly here is a status update on the Big 5 (in my opinion) for VA RSO’s. For the full list of 2018 VA GA Bills go to, (was last updated before HB622 had died).

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Action Item for Virginia Bills HB638- Delegates Chris Collins / Mike Mullin and SB526- Mark Obenshain the Six Conferees Have Been Selected for the House Version

Back on February 14th I posted about HB638- Delegates Chris Collins / Mike Mullins and SB526- Senator Mark Obenshain which would ban ANYONE listed on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry from using a drone in pretty much every possible situation, without specifically using words like ‘ban’ or ‘prohibited’.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Take Action Against Virginia SB168- Bill Stanley / Scott Surovell that Makes Consensual Teen Sexting a New Crime, it’s on Monday February 26, 2018 Afternoon House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 Agenda

Update 5:00PM 02/26/18:

At today’s Virginia House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 meeting SB168 was “passed by indefinitely”, this means it’s dead for 2018. Yes!

SB168 was the last Bill heard at today’s meeting if you want to watch the discussion go to 36:00 of the video it runs until 1:10:09 - 

Original Post:

The agenda for next Monday February 26, 2018 Virginia House Courts of Justice Sub-Committee #1 meeting has posted online and SB168- Senators Bill Stanley / Scott Surovell.

The Virginia General Assembly does not video/stream Sub-Committee meetings but Virginia Progress does you can watch House Courts Sub-Comm #1 live here,

Take Action Against Virginia HB757- Jay Leftwich /Cliff Hayes it Allows Emergency Shelters to Turn Away ANY Registered Sex Offender Seeking Shelter in a Disaster and it’s on Monday February 26, 2018 9AM Senate Courts of Justice Committee Agenda

Update 5:25PM 02/26/18:

At today’s Virginia Senate Courts of Justice meeting HB757 was the second to the last Bill heard and it was conformed to match SB49, no public comment was taken.

SB49 is far better than HB757.

So now I believe both SB49 and HB757 will go to conference where a handful (2-5 of each) of Delegates and Senators will hash-out their “line in the sand” behind closed doors and either they agree on a final identical version for both chambers Bills OR both Bills die for 2018 because the two chambers couldn’t come to an agreement.

I will have to keep checking the LIS links for the final text/decision by the conference and when I see what that is I will post about it.


Original Post:
The agenda for next Monday February 26, 2018 Virginia Courts of Justice Committee meeting has posted online and HB757- Delegates Jay Leftwich and Cliff Hayes will be heard.

Take Action Against Virginia HB622- Rob Bell Retroactive School Property/School Event Ban for Non-Violent RSO Parents it is on Monday February 26, 2018 9AM Senate Courts of Justice Committee Agenda

Update 11:20AM 03/01/18:

In the 10:45AM March 1, 2018 Virginia Senate Finance Committee: 

Senator McDougle advised the Committee HB622- Rob Bell had the least affirmative # of votes in Sub-Committee.
Because of a limited number of Bills that could pass out of today’s hearing with FIS’s that left HB622 at the bottom of the list.
So Chairman Norment "Continued" (AKA- carried over to the next year/session) HB622 for forthcoming revenues next year.

HB622 is done for 2018!


Update 6:44PM 02/26/18:

At today’s Virginia Senate Courts of Justice meeting HB622 was the first Bill heard. 
Video of today's meeting HB622 discussion runs from 0:00 to 19:50. 

So, two things happened to HB622 today.
That the Department of State Police shall notify those offenders who will be prohibited from entering or being present on school grounds or other property as set forth by the provisions of this act by July 1, 2018. 


2.    It was sent to Senate Finance Committee, this could be to either check the $50,000FIS OR it could be a way to kill SB622 without outright doing so. 

If you watch the video of today’s discussion there was a lot of push-back from Senators about treating Non-Violent RSO’s like Violent RSO’s so there is a chance the re-routing of HB622 to Finance is to give it a quiet death. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry and RSO Laws: Administrative or Punitive?

Public Sex Offender Registries are constitutional only if they are an administrative act, if they step over the line into a punishment then they will collapse.

Many States over the last 10 years have faced court changes against either specific legal regulations / restrictions or about their online Registry as a whole and many courts have ruled those States have crossed the line into punishment. Forcing those States to remove thousands of Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) from their registry, returning the RSOs to their original (lower) classifications and revoking the retroactive ‘life’ mandate to again allow them to petition for removal. Costing these State hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A few weeks ago, the Virginia Court of Appeals issued a ruling in Baugh v. Commonwealth that the 2007 law requiring all Virginia Registered Sex Offenders to register any change in email information within 30 minutes was not an ex post facto violation or punitive. Sadly, this Virginia Court of Appeals decision had 2 blaring errors that I easily found as a non-attorney, I’m sure there are more.

First, I noted on page 10 of the decision the court referenced a “high rate of recidivism amongst convicted sex offenders”, this false claim has been debunked many times over and yet here the Virginia Court of Appeals is using it as justification in a decision.

Second on page 12 of the decision it says VA Code states an offender can update their email address either in person or ‘electronically’ so the 2011 Snyder decision from Michigan does not apply to Baugh. This is false. Virginia Code may say ‘electronically’ but no such system has ever existed, all SO registration updates in Virginia must be done in-person.

In fact, I’ve had 3 Bills, 3 different years (2011- HB1628, 2012- HB416, 2016- SB243) to try to fix the 30-minute law that is impossible to comply with and each time the bill has failed because the Virginia State Police Legislative Liaisons opposed it.

According to the Virginia Court of Appeals January decision all 23,157+ Virginia RSO’s have the ability to update their email information via electronic system so the 30-minute rule isn’t punitive. Did they not check with the VSP to confirm that such a system exists? Did the Assistant VA Attorney General representing the State not know the truth and not share it with the court?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Fiscal Impact Statements for “Sex Offender” Bills in Virginia have been Missing/Ignoring Huge Costs to the State Every Year by the House Appropriations / Senate Finance Committees

Emailed this morning.

Dear Virginia House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committee members,

Good morning.

Fiscal Impact Statements for “Sex Offender” Bills in Virginia have been missing/ignoring huge costs to the State every year and no one seems concerned.

§ 9.1-901. section C without a start date of that year all new “Sex Offender” laws whether they add a new registration requirement, restricts or bans where an RSO can be, can live, can work, mandates an RSO declare their status, elevates their classification or increases their time on the Virginia State Police Registry the new law will be applied by the State Police retroactively to ALL old convictions.

Let me give you 2 of the many examples I’ve noted over the years.

1.     Back in 2006 and 2008 the Legislature increased a couple thousand Non-Violent Registered Sex Offenders to Violent. This meant those RSO’s would no longer register once a year and could no longer petition for removal after they served their minimum time on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry. They would in fact be required to re-register 4 times a year and they became Lifers requiring the VSP the monitor and manage them for life. These costs were never captured.

2.    In 2008 when the Legislature increased the minimum time for Non-Violent Registered Sex Offenders to wait before they could petition for removal from 10 years to 15 years the State Police went out and found those RSO’s who had successfully been removed before 2008 and tossed them back on the VSP Registry for an additional 5 years of monitoring and managing. These costs were never captured.