Wednesday, November 6, 2013

2013 Virginia Election Results: Now it’s Time for You to Contact Your House Representative

Update November 11, 2013: 

Some interesting facts about how a special election date is set in Virginia (see link to OpEd below). 
Personal and Political Party agendas can deprive an entire District from having a representative at the yearly General Assembly session if the Governor wants to stack the deck for his/her party or legislative agenda.  
This issue needs to be resolved with legislation! 
Editorial: A post-election scramble - and wait, November 11, 2013


Original Post:
Most citizens wrongly assume that what happens in Washington, D.C. when it comes to passing new laws is much more important than what is happening in their State Legislature. The majority of laws that affect our daily lives are State laws, not Federal.

Most laws affecting Registered Sex Offenders are State laws, not Federal. 

Our Virginia Representatives (U.S. Congress members /U.S. Senators) in Washington D.C. have NOTHING to do with the legislation being proposed and debated at the yearly Virginia General Assembly session in Richmond, Virginia.

Most laws affecting Registered Sex Offenders are State laws but they were inspired, mandated and funded by Federal laws including The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act 1994, Megan’s Law 1996, The Pam Lychner Sex Offender Tracking and Identification Act of 1996 ,  The Jacob Wetterling Improvements Act of 1997, The Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act 1998, The Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act 2000, Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today (PROTECT) Act 2003 and the Adam Walsh Act 2006 (AWA) also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).  

Our Virginia representatives in Washington D.C. don’t have anything to do with the yearly General Assembly sessions in Richmond or the legislation being proposed and debated there but new Federal legislation and hearings on the above Acts and new proposals do still occur.  

This is why the 2013 Virginia election for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and the House of Delegates was so important. Any new proposals against Registered Sex Offenders will be written, patroned (sponsor), co-patroned, debated, voted on, tie-breaker, pass or fail and vetoed or signed into law by these elected officials, not by folks in D.C.  

I am going to go ahead and publish this post but will update it later today where needed. 

Election Results for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General-

Election Results for 100 Virginia House of Delegates Seats-

Virginia Governor- Elect is:                          Terry McAuliffe                 (D)
Virginia Lieutenant Governor- Elect is:     Sen. Ralph Northam        (D)
Virginia Attorney General- Elect is:            Too Close to Call at this time 

All 100 seats of the Virginia House were up for re-election. 46 Districts were uncontested. Either they only had the House incumbent (current Representative) running unopposed or the brand new nominee from the same party as the retired Representative was running unopposed*. 

1st District                            28th District                       62nd District                        81st District
4th District*                         36th District                        63rd District                        83rd District
5th District                           39th District                        64th District                        89th District
8th District                           46th District                        66th District                       80th District
9th District                           48th District                        70th District                       90th District
11th District                         52nd District                        72nd District                        91st District
15th District                         54th District                         73rd District                       92nd District
20th District                        56th District                         74th District                       96th District
24th District                         57th District                        76th District                        97th District
25th District                         58th District                        77th District                        99th District
26th District                         59th District                        79th District
27th District                         61st District                         80th District 

There were 12 Districts/House seats with no incumbent running, all new people running. The winners in these districts are: 
4th District*-       A. Benton Chafin Jr. (R)                 53rd District-       Marcus Simon          (D)         
6th District-         Jeffrey Campbell       (R)                 55th District-       H.F. Buddy Fowler   (R)                
16th District-        Les Adams                  (R)                78th District-       J.A. Jay Leftwich       (R)                
19th District-        Terry Austin               (R)                82nd District-      Bill DeSteph Jr.         (R)
29th District-       Mark Berg                   (R)                84th District-       Glenn Davis Jr.          (R) 
33rd District-       Dave LaRock              (R)                85th District-       Scott Taylor                (R)    

As for Party changes in House seats:
2nd     District-    Michael Futrell   (D) was previously held by (R).
93rd  District-    T. Monty Mason (D) was previously held by (R).

Dr. Karen Franklin: Static-99 developers embrace redemption. Sex offender risk plummets over time in community, new study reports

Last week Dr. Franklin had a great post about the extremely flawed assessment tool known as the Static-99 that is used in Virginia. 

Today she has posted the below article on the Static 99. 

Mary Devoy 

Sex offender risk plummets over time in community, new study reports
Criminals reform.

Violent criminals reform.

And now -- drum roll -- the authors of the most widely used actuarial tool for assessing sex offender recidivism are conceding that even sex offenders cross a "redemption threshold" over time, such that their risk of committing a new sexual crime may become "indistinguishable from the risk presented by non-sexual offenders."

Tracking a large group of 7,740 sexual offenders drawn from 21 different samples around the world, the researchers found that those who remain free in the community for five years or more after their release are at drastically reduced risk of committing a new sex offense.

The offenders identified as at the highest risk on the Static-99R saw their rates of reoffending fall the most, from 22 percent at the time of release to 8.6 percent after five years and only 4.2 percent after 10 years in the community. Based on their findings, the researchers say that risk factors such as number of prior offenses are time-dependent rather than truly static or never-changing.
"If high risk sexual offenders do not reoffend when given the opportunity to do so, then there is clear evidence that they are not as high risk as initially perceived," note authors R. Karl Hanson, Andrew J. R. Harris, Leslie Helmus and David Thornton in the article scheduled for publication the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

Quoting two of my favorite scholars -- criminologist Shadd Maruna and law professor/forensic psychologist Charles Ewing -- the authors challenge the notion that sex offenders represent a special case of perpetual danger. They question the need for life-time monitoring and supervision.

"Even if certain subgroups of sexual offenders can be identified as high risk, they need not be high risk forever. Risk-relevant propensities could change based on fortunate life circumstances, life choices, aging, or deliberate interventions."

The time-free effect was similar across all subgroups examined, including those defined by age at release, treatment involvement, pre-selection into a "high risk/high need" category on the Static-99R, or victim type (adults, children, related children).

The authors recommend revising estimates of risk for individuals who do not reoffend after being free in the community for a certain period of time.

"Once given the opportunity to reoffend, the individuals who reoffend should be sorted into higher risk groups, and those who do not reoffend should be sorted into lower risk groups. This sorting process can result in drastic changes from the initial risk estimates." 

The article is: "High Risk Sex Offenders May Not Be High Risk Forever." Copies may be requested from the first author, R. Karl Hanson-