Monday, December 22, 2014

In 2008 1,492 Non-Violent RSO’s Were Retroactively Reclassified by the Virginia Legislature to Violent Making Them Lifers on the VSP Registry With No Opportunity to Petition for Removal While Denying Them Due Process, But How Many Were Reclassified in 2006? We Need to Know!

For 6 years I have been looking for the number of Non-Violent Sex Offenders who were retroactively re-classified to Violent by the Virginia Legislature in 2006 and then again in 2008 both sessions were prior to me becoming an advocate. 

I’ve previously submitted FOIA’s to the VSP asking for these two totals and I’ve been denied every time. Was it hundreds of citizens? Of was it a couple thousand? Were more swept up by the 2006 change in law than in 2008 or was it the reverse? 

When these 2 retroactive legislative reclassifications occurred it changed these Virginians mandate to re-register from once a year to every 90 days and it eliminated their minimum time listed on the VSP Registry from 15 years to a Lifetime with no option to ever be removed. 

So why does knowing the specific number from 2006 AND 2008 matter? 

For a court challenge to overturn the classification increases implemented by the Virginia Legislature, the Virginia Governor and the Virginia State Police as unconstitutional, that’s why!
Every single one of the Virginians who were affected by such a brazen violation of their rights matters!

While building the chart in the below post today, I made a discovery. I found the total number of Non-Violent Offenders who were retroactively reclassified in 2008, it’s right there in the 2009 VSP Report. 

2009 Report: Virginia State Police Monitoring of Sex Offenders Required to Comply with the Registry$file/RD457.pdf 

On July 1, 2008, Section 9.1-902, Code of Virginia, which governs the registration of offenders with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry in Virginia, was amended. As a result of this statutory amendment, 1,492 offenders were re-classified to violent offenders. Due to this change, there has been a significant increase in the number of investigations for §18.2-472.1, Failing to Register/Re-register violations. 

The VSP has repeatedly denied my requests for this data claiming it was exempt under the Registry FOIA disclaimer and yet here it was in their public report all this time, I don’t know how I missed it all this time. 

Too bad there isn’t a VSP Report for 2007, because if there was we’d probably  know the total number of RSO’s who were reclassified in 2006 and were denied due process along with the 1,492 Virginians from 2008.  

I will continue to search for this number so we know the total number of RSO’s that had their original conviction/classifications agreed upon by the Commonwealth Attorney and the judge in their individual case basically overturned by a one-size-fits-all, retroactive legislative mandate years later because everyone from the 2006 and the 2008 change in law should be returned to their original classifications giving them back the ability to petition for removal if they have never reoffended and reducing the number of re-registrations they are required to do each year. This change in law being applied retroactively was unconstitutional and  Virginia lawmakers and the VSP know it!

Mary Devoy