Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Richmond, Virginia December 12, 2013: A Vigil for the Wrongfully Convicted and Actually Innocent

A Vigil for the “Wrongfully Convicted and Actually Innocent" to be held from 8:30 am to 9:30 am on December 12 at the Capitol Square Bell Tower (900 Bank St, Richmond, VA 23219). 

After the Vigil ends participants will walk around the General Assembly Building, Old City Hall, the Governor’s Office (Patrick Henry Bldg.), past the Governor’s Mansion, and back to Capitol Square, where some us will attend meetings at the General Assembly Building being held that day while others prepare for a press conference and film screening.

At 12 noon, a press conference (limited access) will be held in the House Briefing Room (first floor of the General Assembly Bldg. adjacent to House Room C). Delegate Joe Morrissey has set the press conference from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm to discuss the work that has been done thus far to advance the Writ of Actual Innocence in Virginia and what is upcoming for the 2014 Legislative Session. (Check the Media Guide: Virginia General Assembly for details on obtaining press passes.) 

Immediately following the press conference (1:00 pm) a screening of the documentary film, Target of Opportunity: The US Navy SEALS and the Murder of Jennifer Evans, from JD Leete, is planned (location TBA) with a follow-up panel and Q & A session. The filmmaker, JD Leete, will be participating in this and other screenings and panel discussions being scheduled for that week. 

Numerous organizations, AdvoCare, The Dustin Turner Coalition for Justice, Virginian’s for Judicial Reform (VJR), Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (R.I.H.D.), Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), Plea for Justice Program, Working Narratives/Nation Inside, and Golden Badge are coming together for the "Vigil for the Wrongfully Convicted and Actually Innocent" and other events.
While this Vigil, as well as other events during that day and week, are planned in Virginia to address the seriously antiquated laws protecting (or not protecting) from the wrongful conviction of innocent persons and the slow transformation over the past decade or so of these laws; it is our hope that organizations nationwide will lend their support by listing themselves and perhaps even conducting events of their own. Of course, we would love to have as many participants as possible in Richmond on December 12th.

For more information contact

Teens Who Sext in Virginia Could Face Child Pornography Charges that Carry Mandatory Minimum Sentences and a Lifetime of Registration as a Violent Sex Offender

Shelby Brown and WTVR, 

I watched your story on Virginia teens sexting and facing criminal charges this morning. 

Over the years I have found 3-5 cases in Virginia that prosecution was being pursued and when the media got a hold of the case the charges were either dropped or a plea to a lesser charge was made not requiring lifetime registration as a Sex Offender. 

This is an issue I have been working on for more than 5 years and I made a statement back in 2009 to the Virginia State Crime Commission about it. 

Crime Panel Refuses to Call for Measure to Curb Sexting, December 16, 2009:   

The VSCC Crime Commission ended the September 16, 2009 meeting with the summary that the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s are using good judgment when it comes to prosecuting “sexting” cases. 

I told the Commission members at the December 2009 meeting that sexting Legislation needed to be proposed at the upcoming 2010 General Assembly session, in addition to educating Virginia’s teens and young adults of the dangers of “Sexting”. Not only should the juvenile’s that send and receive these photos and videos be exempt from prosecution but their 18, 19 and 20 year old boyfriends and girlfriends should also be free of erroneous prosecution. They voted not to proceed with legislation. 

The only bill since then to be proposed at a session has been, and it failed 

Requiring a teen or young adult to register as a sex offender for sending or receiving a photo only does one thing: it undermines the Sex Offender registry. 

As a society we want to encourage the healthy sexual development of our teenagers. But there is a difference between kids being kids and kids doing criminal things. And while certain acts and behaviors may legally qualify as crimes, are we really acting in our children's best interest by prosecuting them and subjecting them to the harsh consequences of the criminal justice system? No. 

Mary Devoy