Monday, September 9, 2013

Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission September 9, 2013 Meeting: Discussed Increasing Child Pornography Sentence and Peugh v. U.S. Decision (Ex Post Facto in Sentencing)

Just a reminder to the readers, the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission is not a Legislative branch like the Virginia State Crime Commission . The VCSC is a judicial branch; they mainly conduct studies and gather data on sentencing guidelines in Virginia. 

Also, I previously posted about the VCSC and that the number one fiscal request they receive for proposed legislation during the yearly Virginia General Assembly session is “Sex Offender” bills. 

Today the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission met in Richmond, their third of four meetings for 2013 and I attended.

This was the first meeting ever that they posted a draft agenda, ahead of time. The Power Point Presentations were not yet posted on their website when I was typing this post but they should be up very soon.

The Commission is considering 5 possible topics/sentences to revise and propose in their December Report.

Remember if the VCSC recommends a change in sentencing a bill is NOT required at the yearly General Assembly to make the legislative change. It goes into their annual report and will automatically become law UNLESS a bill is submitted at the yearly session to STOP it from becoming law and that rarely happens.

When today's Presentations are finally loaded pay attention to recommendation #5- Reanalyzing Child Solicitation and Child Pornography Offenses. In the list of concerns they’ve noted that possession carries a much higher punishment than production, which I agree is ridiculous. The creators (producers) of child pornography are usually the ones abusing the children, they are “supplying” the market and in my opinion the producers and sellers should be more significantly punished than the viewers/down-loaders/sharers are. But when reading the presentation the statutory maximums are very significant so unless they’re looking to make if life I think they have it covered knowing the mandatory minimums in all these crimes trumps the sentencing guidelines. Unless the 2013 VCSC recommendation is greater than the mandatory minimum it really won’t be much of a difference.

Attorney and Law Professor Catherine Carpenter Presentation, Sex Offender Laws / Registry and Constitutionality Issues

Reform Sex Offender Laws Organization held their 5th annual 2013 conference “Justice for All: A Conference to Reform Sexual Offense Laws”, on Labor Day weekend in Los Angeles California.
I usually do not post anything from RSOL for a few reasons but one of this years invited speakers presented the Constitutional issues with the Sex Offender Laws and Public Registries.
Catherine Carpenter, criminal defense attorney and professor of law at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles speaks for 1 hour and 11 minutes, please watch!