Monday, January 13, 2014

Action Alert: HB195 Robby’s Rule – A Victim’s $1.69 Million “Symbolic Middle Finger” Bill

Update January 18, 2013: 

HB195  is NOT on Monday January 2oth (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee docket. 

I will keep an eye on the committee agenda’s and when it is finally scheduled I will let everyone know in a new post. I am working on my statement to the committee against this bill this weekend. 

If you have not already done so, please contact your Delegate and Senator and if you want to the entire House Courts of Justice Committee, all the addresses are below. 

Thank you! 


Update January 14, 2013: 

HB195 may be included on next Monday January 2oth Martin Luther King Jr. Day House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee docket.

The docket for the 2oth may post on Friday the 17th or it could be during the weekend. 

MLK Day is also “Lobby Day” a day I usually do everything possible to avoid as the G.A. building is bursting at it seams. But if HB195 is expected to be heard that day I will be there.  

As the patrons office will not share the pending amendments, I will compose a few different statements in an attempt to cover all the possibilities.  

If you have not already done so, please contact your Delegate and Senator and if you want to contact the entire House Courts of Justice Committee, all the addresses are below.  

Use any of the below points in your email if you aren’t sure of what to say.  

Thank you! 


Original Post:

This is the third post for HB195 patroned by Delegate Ramadan also known as “Robby’s Rule”. 

HB195 proposes: 

Requires the Superintendent of State Police to establish and maintain a supplement to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry that would include the names of persons who have committed offenses that would require registration if the offense occurred today, but who are not otherwise required to register. Any attorney for the Commonwealth or law-enforcement officer may submit a request to the Department of State Police to include a person on the supplement to the Registry. Upon receipt of a request, the Department of State Police must confirm whether the person should be included on the supplement to the Registry. 

For 3 weeks I have been trying to get some specific questions answered by the Patrons office about this proposal. With the extremely vague answers I have now been given via phone after I stopped by his G.A. office today I can say to all of you my earlier suspicions about HB195 are correct. 

Robby’s Rule is proposing that sex crimes from the 1980’s, the 1970’s, the 1960’s and maybe further back (because there is no date in the bill) be added to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.  This means not only would a current Registered Sex Offender who is listed today with a 2010 or 1999 conviction have a pre-Registry conviction from perhaps 1984 added to their VSP posting BUT anyone with a pre-Virginia Registry conviction and no new conviction since would now be retroactively mandated to register as a Sex Offender for life. 

Someone will have to sort through decades of court files, to determine if the person convicted decades ago is alive or dead, if they still reside in the Commonwealth or another state and to force them to submit to registration without a hearing. If they live in another state when the search is done but move back 4 years later how will we know? We wouldn’t. 

I asked the staffer from the patron’s office, will this law add 5 or 5000 new people to the Virginia Registry and they didn’t know the answer because no one knows.  

No one knows how many people committed crimes decades ago that would today require registration, but yet there is a proposal to add them all to our Registry. Why?  

How much will this cost?  

How many years will this take?  

7. Fiscal Impact Estimates: Preliminary. See Items 7a and 8.
7a. Expenditure Impact: 

Fiscal Year Dollars Positions Fund
2015      $1,692,625 3 GF
2016          $463,825 3 GF
2017          $463,825 3 GF
2018          $463,825 3 GF
2019          $463,825 3 GF
2020         $463,825 3 GF 

8. Fiscal Implications: This legislation would require the Department of State Police (Department) to establish and maintain a supplement to the Sex Offender and Crimes against Minors Registry (SOR). It likely will also increase the number of registrations to be processed and added to the supplement based on the requests received by the Department to include a person on the supplement. 

According to the Department, the provisions of this bill create a fiscal impact because there will be a cost to develop and maintain the registry. According to the Department, the establishment of the supplement to the SOR would require modification and expansion of the existing SOR database as well as additional staff resources needed to set up, operate and maintain the system. The Department cannot absorb any costs associated with the implementation of this legislative proposal, and would request a full funding to support their efforts in anticipated activities.  

The setting up of the SOR supplement will require a minimum of 18 months of project work in order to document detailed system requirements, bid out the system specifications, procure the hardware and software, as well as develop, test and implement the system. The one-time cost associated with this undertaking is estimated at $1,224,000, with an annual ongoing cost of maintaining the supplement estimated at $180,000.  

Furthermore, an additional full-time Technologist (programmer) position (at $164,439 the first year, and an annual cost of $162,839 in subsequent years) would be needed in the IT department in order to maintain and support the new supplement system along with performing ongoing maintenance and periodic software and hardware updates to it.  

In addition, the Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) within the Department would need two additional Office Service Specialists ($124,186 the first year, and $120,986 in subsequent years) to conduct research of convictions, perform data entry and other functions associated with maintaining the supplement to the Virginia Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. 

Don’t let the term “supplement” mislead you into thinking this is a private (authorities only) registry it is public. 

An initial $1.69 Million to research 20, 30, 40 years of records for people who have NOT reoffended in the last decades or for people who are already publically listed on our Registry for a crime that they were convicted of in the last 15-19 years. 

With HB195 Virginians who have NOT committed a new crime in 20, 30, 40+ years will be retroactively forced to register as a Sex Offender. Denying them due process, violating ex post facto, creating serous barriers in their employment, housing, movement, participation in their family’s lives and the impending doom of a future felony charge if they unintentional miss a re-registration deadline or update. 

Robby’s Rule Facebook page  claims HB195 is just “fixing a loophole” that felony convictions are already a matter of public record and this mandate is correcting that error. That these unregistered people have “fallen through the cracks”. 
First, HB195 is adding decades old convictions to current postings of already Registered Sex Offenders. Why is this necessary? It isn’t. 

Robby’s push and Delegate Ramadan’s support of it to force a decades old conviction onto the VSP Registry posting of his abuser does nothing to further protect the public, it is purely vindictive and personal. The abuser is already listed on the public list of shame as a “pervert”, a “pedophile” and a “predator”, he must already register and any slip up will result in a new felony charge against him.  

When did we start allowing legislation in Virginia to become a “symbolic middle finger” against those who harmed another person?  

Just like naming laws after victims (Robby’s Rule) HB195 has turned justice into a personal matter, a settling of scores between the victim and the offender, even though justice is supposed to be blind, fair and balanced. 

Second, HB195 is mandating that beginning in 2014 Virginians with decades old convictions who have NOT re-offended in all that time be mandated to register as a Sex Offender for life, follow all the legal restrictions and regulations and if you don’t you face a new felony charge. 

The first result I mention MIGHT be considered a matter of public record but the second result of HB195 is something completely different and should NEVER be claimed as such. The second result is arbitrary punishment against currently law abiding citizens at the $1.69 million cost of denying Virginians due process and violating ex post facto. 
The Virginia Sex Offender Registry had a start date and convictions going back to that specific period in time mandates registration as a Sex Offender and those people do register. The people being included in HB195 are not required to register and they should not be required to retroactively register with a mandate. 

There is no “loophole” and no one has “fallen through the cracks”, HB195 isn’t fixing anything because nothing needs fixing. 

What HB195 will do is waste $1.69 million in 2015 and an additional $463,825 in subsequent years. 

That’s a very expensivesymbolic middle finger” that does not do anything to increase public safety in Virginia. 

There is a re-write currently being done to HB195, I imagine it is because of the current estimated cost. The staffer in the patron’s office would not share the revisions with me when I asked how they change the current proposal.  

So all I can say is any proposal that retroactively adds new Virginians to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry from decades old convictions is unacceptable. 

Please Email or call  your Virginia Delegate and Senator and tell them to vote “NO” on HB195. 

Virginia Delegates                                                     Virginia Senators
Phone List                                                                           Phone List
E-mail List                                                                          E-mail List 

HB195 is headed to the Souse Courts of Justice Committee, if you feel industrious contact all the Committee members, here they are:

Richmond, VA. During Session
David Albo*
Les Adams*
Robert Bell*                                      *Also on VSCC
Jeffrey Campbell*
Benton "Ben" Chafin*
804- 698-1004
Benjamin Cline* *
*Also on VCSC
C. Todd Gilbert* *            *Also on VSCC
Gregory Habeeb
Charniele Herring* *Also on VSCC
Terry Kilgore
James "Jay" Leftwich*
G. Manoli Loupassi *Also on VSCC
Jennifer McClellan
T. Monty Mason*
Jackson Miller*
J. Randall Minchew
Richard Morris* *
David Toscano
Ron Villanueva*
Vivian Watts*
*  -On Criminal Sub-Committee
*  -On Both House Committees that hear majority of RSO Bills
*   -Newly Elected 2014 


Mary Devoy