working on revising the Legislative Goal page,
but everyday I wind up working on a post or two because of the revisions I’m
was gathering all the past legislation that has been proposed to expand
Virginia’s Residency Restrictions and Loitering Laws since I became a volunteer
advocate (the list is at the very bottom) even
though I routinely share all the research with those same lawmakers but they continue
to propose expansion anyway.
decided to share more details about where HB1485 came from and what Delegate
Bell claimed to know and not know about it when we spoke on the phone back on
December 20, 2016.
Delegate Bell has publically
claimed he had a "constituent" who came to him about HB1485.
that’s not totally accurate; the “constituent” was a Virginia State Police Investigator.
From the phone
call on December 20, 2016 Delegate Bell told me the VSP Investigator’s original
intent with HB1485 was to ban Registered Sex Offender's from all Virginia libraries because the Investigator told him
there was an RSO that was “hanging around” the children’s section of the Bristol library. I then
advised Delegate Bell that Virginia’s
Loitering law does NOT include libraries, so HB1485 would do nothing to change that situation.
advised Delegate Bell I opposed SB384 back in 2014 that was intended to ban
RSO’s from Virginia Libraries which was a request by a Commonwealth’s Attorney
in Senator Reeves' district. I advised Bell
that in 2014 I opposed SB384 in its original form and in its amended forms
because in the end it was a ban and that was ruled unconstitutional by the New
Mexico Supreme Court.
Delegate Bell then told me the VSP Investigator advised him that Virginia needed to
“align with Federal Code” and that HB1485 would get us there.
I then explained
to Delegate Bell that I’m well versed in Federal Code for “Sex Offenders” it’s
the Adam Walsh Act 2006 also known as SORNA which does NOT have loitering or
residency restriction for “Sex Offenders”. Then that there were some pending
Bills in Washington
for employment of RSO’s with children, but they had not become Federal law at
that point. So on the second claim by the VSP Investigator on what HB1485 would
do, he was wrong again, or perhaps he had lied to the Delegate or perhaps the
Delegate wasn’t being truthful with me. Which option was it? I had been
given2 reasons for HB1485 that were NOT
true and I had to make sure these false claims did not spread as fact in an
attempt to get public support or Legislature support for this Bill and any Companion version that may pop up at session.
So 8 days
later I sent an email to all the Virginia Legislators advising them of the
intention of the Bill, the false claims and the collateral consequences, that’s
when Delegate Dickie Bell sent me a scathing email saying he would not take any
action to help me get the Bill amended. I hadn’t expected any assistance to
begin and as January turned into February I knew my 12/28/16 email was the
right thing to do.
You see on
the December 20th call with Delegate Bell I asked him if he understood
that by NOT having a conviction date of July 1, 2017 in his Bill, that the Virginia
State Police would apply HB1485 retroactively. I also advised himif that was to occur those people who had
established their homes years ago would now be committing a felony. That as of
July 1st they would either need to move out of their home and if
that wasn’t an option they could become homeless.
I asked Delegate
Bell if these collateral consequences were intended and he said no. So I had
asked him to add a conviction date of July 1, 2017 so no one would lose their
current home and he advised me he’d share my many concerns (which he asked me
to send in an email and I did) with the VSP Investigator.
when HB1485 made it to the House Courts Criminal-Sub Committee on February 1st
(a hearing I couldn’t make http://goo.gl/Fegc8whttp://goo.gl/Uq52Q8) no amendment was made by
Delegate Bell or by the VSP Representative to avoid current residences from
becoming felonies this July. No grandfather clause was added even though I had
gotten one added 2 weeks earlier to the Companion version (SB1072) in the
Senate Courts of Justice Committee, much to the dismay of the VSP
Hours of operation,
the ability to access the Virginia State Police is what this post will be about.
Of Virginia’s 22,588 (October 2016 count)
Registered Sex Offenders 40% are
incarcerated, 20% are under VA-DOC
supervision and 40% are under Virginia
State Police supervision. So that’s 60%
that must re-register every 30, 90, 120 or 365 days each year. Plus anytime
the RSO moves, changes jobs, enrolls or un-enrolls in school, buys or sells a vehicle or
deletes or create san email address they must go in-person to a Virginia State
Police location within either 3 days (not business days) or 30 minutes (for email and Instant Messenger) per Virginia law.
RSO’s might go to their local police or sheriff’s office for VSP Registry
changes but experience has taught most RSO’s that’s a risk with a possible
felony punishment. Registration paperwork has been known to take forever to get
from a local authority to the VSP or it has been lost all together, so most VA RSO’s
go directly to the VSP.
60% of the RSO population that
utilizes the VSP locations is 13,177
people. The majority of those people must re-register 4 times per year (every 90 days) but some
do so through the mail 2 or 3 of those 4 times. But then there are those data
changes and in the last 10 years we’ve personally learned that averages one visit
per year and yet we’ve never changed our residence or employment and most RSO’s
go with a very conservative average of 2 visits to a VSP location
per year for the 13,177 RSO’s.
Trooper or VSP employee spends an average of 20 minutes with each RSO who comes
in to re-register or update their data.
works out to be 26,354 visits per year to a VSP location by Virginia RSO’s at 20
minutes each that’s 8,784 hours in
2015 was needed to manage all the Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia.
location hours average around 8:30AM to
4PM weekdays only. They are not
open evenings, weekends or on holidays*. The VSP SO Hotline(804) 674-2825 is available
8:15AM to 4:45PMweekdays only. No
evenings, weekends or on holidays*.
*VSP holidays include:
4, 3-day holidays (Presidents Day,
Memorial Day, Labor Day and Columbus Day) per year.
2, 4-day holidays (Lee-Jackson/MLK
weekend and Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend) per year.
the possibility that Christmas, New Years Day, Independence Day or Veterans Day
could land on a Friday or Monday OR
if they land on a Saturday or a Sunday then either that Friday or Monday will
be taken as a holiday. That’s 4 more
possible 3-day weekends, per year.
Virginia State Police is in charge of running all criminal background checks
for all Virginia Firearm Sellers, that program is called VCheck.
compare how accessible the Virginia State Police is for 60% of our Sex Offender
population versus Virginia Firearm Sellers.
is available from 8AM to 10PM, seven days a week, including holidays,
except for December 25. Plus an 800-telephone line is utilized as an alternate
method should a firearms dealer lose Internet connection or experience problems
with his or her computer.
VSP’s VCheck is available 6.5 more hours
everyday than the VSP locations are for RSO’s.
VSP’s VCheck is available every weekend,
with 52 weekends that’s 104 additional
days per yearthat VCheck is
available but not the VSP locations for RSO’s.
VSP’s VCheck is available every holiday,
except Christmas.That’s 11 VSP observed holidays that VCheck
is available but the VSP locations are not for RSO’s.
State Police VCheck is available 14
hours per day for 364 days every
State Police Locations for RSO’s is available (depending on the location) 7.5 hours per day for 248 days per year. But as most RSO’s
have learned over the years the VSP Trooper or employee manning the SO duties might
be on lunch break so you wait for them to return.
State Police is available for 5,096
hours per year to the VCheck Program.
State Police is officially available for 1,860
hours per year (assuming all 7.5 hours of operation, there is an available
employee) for Registered Sex Offenders to register, re-register and change any
data that’s required by law.
Virginia State Police gives 2.7 times
more hoursof operation per year
for the VCheck Program than they do for Virginia Registered Sex Offenders to comply
with VA law.
But as I
was reorganizing my goals I came to realize just how many times the Virginia Legislature
has used the VA-DMV to tighten restrictions, limit access (no online or US mail) and limit offerings for both VSP
Registry Offenders AND their loved ones. PLUS get more money out of them and ONLY them because they have to return so often!
last 9 years 4 different DMV related laws went into effect.
So I decided
to post them all here.
really sad and quite maddening that the Virginia Legislature continues to take away options, limit access and shorten expiration dates simply because someone is listed on the
VSP Sex Offender Registry.
VA-DMV Standard Driver’s Licenses:
In 2008 Virginia Standard Driver’s Licenses became valid for
eight years instead of the previous five years. Also the DMV began encouraging
Virginians to renew on-line or through the mail instead of at a DMV location so
a $5 processing fee was added for anyone who renews in-person.
Except for anyone listed on the VSP Registry.
All Registered Sex Offenders are prohibited from renewing
their licenses on-line or through the mail. This means they are paying an extra
$5 for the trip.
Also all Registered Sex Offenders drivers license are NOT
good for 8 years but only for 5 years, 37.5%
sooner than other all other Virginia drivers.
VA-DMV Commercial Driver’s
In 2011 Virginia Commercial Driver’s Licenses banned anyone
listed on the VSP Registry from obtaining/retaining a Type-S License, to drive a school bus OR a commercial vehicle that
is chartering a school or daycare group/activity. All existing licenses were immediately
Anyone listed on the VSP Registry had to obtain a Type-P License, to drive a commercial
vehicle with passengers.All new
paperwork and fees were required.
VA-DMV Specialty and Vanity
In 2016 ANY DMV-Specialty License Plate that is related to
children or children's programs or with revenues paid to funds for the benefit
of children is prohibited if the vehicle is owned OR co-owned (w/ a parent, a
spouse or teenage child) by anyone listed on the VSP Registry. If the Registered
Sex Offender remains on the vehicle the current license plate would not be
allowed to be renew and no new plates would be issued.
These current (2016)
license plates were included:
1.Virginia Family and Children’s
Trust Fund Kid’s First
2.Virginia Family and Children’s
Trust Fund Child Trust Heart
3.Virginia Family and Children’s
Trust Fund Child Trust Hand
4.Virginia Family and Children’s
Trust Fund Child Trust Star
5.Virginia Cure Childhood Cancer
6.Virginia Unlocking Autism
7.Virginia Kid’s Eat Free
Also in 2016, it was the VA-DMV shall not issue or renew personalized
(Vanity) license plates if the vehicle is owned OR co-owned (w/ a parent, a
spouse or teenage child) by anyone listed on the VSP Registry if the requested
personalization (letter/number combination) relates to or references children. But
by who’s judgment? It will just be easier for the VA-DMV to just deny all
vanity-requests by RSO’s to avoid any possible issues.
VA-DMV Special Identification
In 2017 Virginia Special Identification Cards (for Person 70
Years of Age or Older who do not have a Driver’s License) fee was increased and
became valid for eight years instead of the previous seven years.
Except for anyone listed on the VSP Registry.
All Registered Sex Offenders are prohibited from renewing
these identification cards on-line or through the mail.
redoing my Legislative Goal page this weekend. One
of the changes that may be noticed on that page is Goal #2 is not what it used to be. That’s because I’ve removed it
and am no longer working on it.
wanted to be sure Goal #2 is
documented on this site because I spent a lot of time over 8 Virginia General
Assemblies trying to accomplish Goal #2
but at every turn the Virginia State Police Legislative Liaisons became a
barrier, with different excuses or demands every session.
Post today is a look back at 8 years of trying to get one simple and necessary
reform accomplished in Virginia and the unbelievable push-back that occurred.
the problem or problems, what are the possible solutions, steps taken to
achieve those solutions, who objected and how did they object and where are we
today. Are we better off? NO we aren’t.
Goal #2 was, written notice of all Legal Restrictions /Regulations that all
Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) must abide by in Virginia be given.
"Sex Offender" laws are passed in Virginia, including restricting their
movement, their employment, their housing or what information is mandated to be
submitted within a specific timeframe by the Offender, they are NOT notified of
the change in law, but yet are obligated to follow the new rule.
specific laws passed by the Virginia Legislature carry a penalty of a Class 6
Felony, even if the original conviction requiring registration was a
misdemeanor. These laws are not intuitive but yet RSO’s are expected not to
Virginian is under DOC Probation they receive a complete list of rules that they
sign to acknowledge receipt. Then if the Probationer breaks a rule, they face
the legal consequences for the violation.
But the Commonwealth makes no effortto advise Registered Sex Offenders (RSO's)
and their “Rules of the Game” change yearly when new retroactive laws are
passed and if they "guess" incorrectly they face up to 5 years in
prison. An extremely high cost paid for by Virginians for an arbitrary felony
based on an administrative act (the VSP Registry).
If a law
(that originally required a fiscal impact) is important enough for the Virginia
Legislature to pass, is it NOT equally important to inform those citizens it is
intended to manage?
like North Carolina, Illinois
& Indiana advise their RSO’s of their
legal obligations at every re-registration and Illinois
notify their RSO's of new changes in law.
Virginia and all Federal laws should be available in easily understandable
terms not legal mumbo-jumbo.
copy would be given to an RSO at upon their first registration and then an
updated and complete list given each year after the General Assembly session
when the new laws take effect on July 1st .
would be posted on-line and
available upon request including to be mailed to those RSO’s without Internet
last hour LIS has updated HB1485, Governor McAuliffe signed it into law
yesterday. It was only posted in LIS 2-3 days ago that the Bill was headed to the
Governor. So much for public comment or amendments to be considered in Virginia. It’s an
anti-Sex Offender Bill? Sign it, sign it, sign it! Don’t ask questions, don’t
consider the collateral consequences, they’re JUST Sex Offenders.
State Police will be applying this new law retroactively upon RSO’s whose
convictions go back as far as 2000 and the VSP will NOT be notifying them of
their new restrictions ahead of time.
HB1485adds any person convicted of an offense under the laws of
any foreign country or any political subdivision thereof, or the United States
or any political subdivision thereof to:
primary, secondary or high school, if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2000
child day center if
the conviction is on or after July 1, 2006
locality operated playground, athletic field or facility, or gymnasium, if the
conviction is on or after July 1, 2008 “for
the purpose of having any contact whatsoever with children that are not in his
primary, secondary or high school, if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2006 and if the Offender is 3 or more
years older than the victim
child day center if
the conviction is on or after July 1, 2006
and if the Offender is 3 or more years older than the victim
And a grandfather clause was added for residences
established prior to July 1, 2017.
The Virginia State Police will be applying HB1485
retroactively to Registered Sex Offenders who are already listed on the VSP
Registry for an out-of-state, Federal, Military, Foreign or Tribal conviction
will now be obligated to abide by these 3 changes in VA Code.
But the VSP refuses to notify those affected RSO’s
of the change in law that will apply to them as of July 1, 2017 which has a
felony punishment and limits their housing options.
This means any RSO who has been picking up or
dropping off their child on the corner of school property or waits for them in
the parking lot during soccer, band or cheerleader practice today will be
unknowingly committing a felony as of July 1, 2017. Yes,
the section for playground, athletic field or gymnasium says "for the purpose of having contact...." but we all know an arrest and an investigation will occur if anyone makes a complaint and that means bail, hiring an attorney and possible loss of employment and the burden to prove what contact was or wasn't being made falls on the Offender, not the State!
HB1485 will also mean any RSO who moves
to a new apartment or townhome or decides to buy a house after July 1, 2017
needs to know that it can not be within 500ft of a daycare or school property
but will have no idea until their VSP Trooper or Compliance Officer comes to
their newly registered address to confirm the change and then is told their new
home is illegal.
"Sounds like you enjoy
sex with kids," a reader tweeted at me after seeing a blog post I wrote
about former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle. It was 2015, and Fogle had just
signed a plea agreement in which he admitted to looking at child pornography
and having sex with two 16-year-old prostitutes. "You also look like [a]
pervert," the reader added.
That's the sort of response
you can expect if you write about the broad category known as "sex
offenders" and suggest that not all of them are the same or that some of them
are punished too severely. In this case, I had noted that the decision to
prosecute Fogle under federal law, which had been justified by factors that had
little or nothing to do with the gravity of his offenses, had a dramatic impact
on the penalty he was likely to receive.
In less than 10 hours a VA RSO
who checks this site regularly and who email’s me learned their Verizon email will
be transferring to AOL. They advised me that they have NOT heard one word about
this switch from Verizon. Now they are keeping an eye on their account and looking for
email’s about the switch so they can try to comply with VA law.
Their email address may not
change or stop working at first but at some point down the line AOL is going to
want their name in the email addresses of their users to say AOL, not Verizon.
Just 30 minutes ago I walked
into my living room and heard the end of a Richmond NBC12 news story that not
only caught my attention but immediately made me consider the possible
arbitrary felonies that may follow soon in Virginia via the Virginia State Police (VSP).
The news story (which is NOT
posted on NBC12 as of right now) is that Verizon is discontinuing its email
service and those accounts will be “migrated” to AOL accounts. It seems this
has been news for a week now, but tonight’s story was the very first I had
heard of it.
After a Google search I found
an article with some details here
Per § 9.1-903. Virginia’s 22,000+
Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) have ONLY
30 minutes to register in-person
(there is no phone or electronic system) ANY change (additions or deletions)
with their email. And as a side note the Virginia State Police Barracks are not
open evenings, weekends or holidays.
So per tonight’s news I’ve
learned Verizon is going to delete existing email addresses and it sounds as though
new AOL addresses may be created all behind the scenes without any involvement
of the person who owned the Verizon account.
Now I check email daily but
there are MANY people who do not. They might check it weekly or it could be monthly.
But for RSO’s in Virginia
if an email address has been deleted by Verizon and created by AOL without any
action (at a VSP location) by the person who is attached to the account they could be facing a new
felony. First an investigation, then charges and an arrest, then bail (if they
can come up with it), possible loss of employment, hiring an attorney, and then a
court date. All because Verizon is eliminating email service and they’ve handed
it over to AOL.