Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Action Alert: HB523- Mandating Registration of Juveniles as a Public Sex Offender for a Minimum of 10 Years Passed the Virginia House and Now Moves onto the Virginia Senate


HB523 – Mandated Registration of juveniles as a Sex Offender for a minimum of 10 years passed the Virginia House today 85-12 (2 Delegates did not vote at all on the proposal).  
Past posts on HB523:
Here is the official tally: 

YEAS--Adams, Albo, Anderson, Austin, BaCote, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Berg, Brink, Bulova, Byron, Campbell, Carr, Chafin, Cline, Cole, Comstock, Cox, Dance, Davis, DeSteph, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Filler-Corn, Fowler, Futrell, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Head, Helsel, Herring, Hodges, Howell, A.T., Hugo, Ingram, James, Joannou, Jones, Keam, Kilgore, Knight, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, LeMunyon, Lingamfelter, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., Mason, Massie, McClellan, Miller, Minchew, Morefield, Morris, O'Bannon, O'Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Plum, Pogge, Poindexter, Ramadan, Ransone, Rush, Rust, Scott, Spruill, Stolle, Taylor, Torian, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Ware, Watts, Webert, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker--85 
NAYS--Hester, Hope, Kory, Krupicka, Lopez, McQuinn, Morrissey, Rasoul, Sickles, Simon, Surovell, Toscano--12 
NOT VOTING--Habeeb, Robinson--2  

February 12, 2014 Update:
  1. Delegate Habeeb was recorded as not voting.  Intended to vote yea.
  2. Delegate Lopez was recorded as nay.  Intended to vote yea.
Now HB523 goes to the Virginia Senate, it will first be heard by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.

Don’t bother contacting your Delegate (House) but you should be aware of how they voted above. If you approve of their vote, let them know. If you disapprove of their vote, let them know.  
Please Email or call  your Virginia Senator today and every member of the Courts of Justice Committee (below), tell them to vote “NO” on HB523.   
Let them know that
·        15 years of research has concluded
o        Juvenile recidivism rate is even lower than the adults very low re-offense rate of 5-7%
o        Juveniles respond extremely well to treatment and therapy
o        Requiring juveniles to register as Sex Offenders for any amount of time creates an unshakable label that undermines all productive steps for that juvenile into society
o        The public stigma of Sex Offender upon a juvenile undoes all positive steps previously made in treatment
·        Placing a juvenile on a public Sex Offender Registry for ANY time will most likely result in them not finishing high school, being denied admission by Virginia Colleges (including Community) and Universities, unable to secure employment, unable to secure housing and not growing up into independent, confident and socially adjusted adults.
·        Almost EVERY adult who has petitioned in Virginia for removal from the Registry after their 15 or 25 years has been denied. No judge wants to sign-off on their removal and the trend isn’t going to change with these once juveniles who have become 24, 25, 26 or 27 year olds without a high school degree, without a college education, without a job and still living at home all because of the posting on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. The proposal may allow for a petition after 10 years but once listed it will be for a lifetime.
·        Today in Virginia we allow judges to decide if a juvenile must register, they have all the evidence of the individual case in front of them to determine if registration is appropriate for the specific juvenile. By tying the hands of our judges with mandates, it ensures justice is unobtainable in the Commonwealth because the facts, the evidence, witness testimony and first-time offenses are trivial and NOT worthy of ANY consideration. Our justice system becomes an assembly-line. Micromanaging doesn’t work anywhere and it certainly won’t work in Virginia’s courtrooms. If the Legislators do not trust our Judges will make sound rulings, then why have they (the Legislators) appointed them to the bench? 
·        Leave this very important decision in the courtroom where it belongs
·        One-size does NOT fit all!
·        The Commonwealth should want these juveniles to become positive and productive adults, citizens, spouses and one day, even good parents. Their success is our success and their failure is our failure, mandatory juvenile registration guarantees failure for all. 
Thank you 
Mary Devoy 
2014- Senate Courts of Justice Committee  
Richmond, VA. During Session
Henry Marsh
John Edwards
Janet Howell                       *Also on VSCC
L. Louise Lucas
Ryan McDougle
A. Donald McEachin
Thomas “Tommy” Norment                          *Also on VSCC  
*Also on VCSC
Mark Obenshain
J. Chapman “Chap” Petersen
Toddy Puller
Richard Saslaw
William Stanley
Richard Stuart
Jill Holtzman Vogel
Jennifer Wexton