Friday, December 12, 2014

Virginia Delegate Joe Morrissey Avoids Prison, Registration as a Sex Offender, Automatically Losing His Law License or His Elected Office: Virginia Lawmakers Are Not Held to the Same Standards (or Laws) That They Impose Upon the Citizens of the Commonwealth

(Except for Virginia Legislators)

Virginia Delegate Joe Morrissey (57 years old) pleads to one misdemeanor offense today when he was facing multiple felonies for sex and for “sexting” with a 17 year old employee who lied about her age. 

Morrissey enters plea, sentenced to 12 months with 6 suspended, December 12, 2014

Delegate Morrissey pled to § 18.2-371. 

Offenses in Virginia that require registration as a Sex Offender are:

With today’s plea he avoids registering as a Sex Offender, he will not automatically lose his law license (The Virginia Bar could revoke it after a hearing) or his seat as an elected official. “Teflon Joe Morrissey” strikes again! 

Plus today at the hearing it was revealed the 17 year old receptionist (18 years old since March 2014) is pregnant……… with perhaps Morrissey’s  child.

Did the 17 year old female lie about her age? Yes she did? But under Virginia law even if she showed fake identification the onerous falls on the older person to confirm her real age.  

Was she only a few months from turning 18 years old and at that point per Virginia law there wouldn’t have been a crime? Yes. 

I do not like to see innocent people convicted of a crime. 

I do not like to see severe and unreasonable sentences handed down simply because it is a “sex crime”. 

I also don’t like to see manipulative liars of any age destroy someone else’s life when they clearly knew what they were capable of. 

I was not wishing the worst for Delegate Morrissey for the outcome of this case. 

But………………………………….I am angry tonight with the outcome of this case. 

No regular citizen of the State would have ever been given such a deal by a Commonwealth’s Attorney nor would a judge in Virginia have accepted the deal for any other citizen of the state.  

There have been 18, 19, 20 and 21 year olds with 15, 16 and 17 year old girlfriends (age appropriate relationships) in Virginia who have been convicted of Rape and Carnal Knowledge of a Minor for having consensual sex and they are now Lifetime Violent Sex Offenders.

Mr. Morrissey was in a supervisory position of  a minor (employee) and that IS a crime in Virginia....
Sexual Abuse of a Minor while in a Custodial Relationship:

Plus the "texts" soliciting sexual image(s) from the 17 year old female, Delegate Morrissey then possessed the sexual image(s) and finally Delegate Morrissey distributed (shared) the sexual image(s), all child pornography crimes per Virginia law- § 18.2-374.1:1. § 18.2-374.3. 
The law is the law. Even if we are working on reforming specific statutes...... the Rule of Law must be applied equally to every citizen and our justice system should NOT play favorites or grant special exceptions for elected officials or people of influence. No one is above the law! But based on this plea deal, our Delegates are.

Anyone other than a Virginia lawmaker with the details and facts of this case (that have been disclosed in the media) would be convicted of at least one felony, probably multiple felonies. They’d also be  serving a significant prison sentence and they’d be required to register as a Violent RSO, for life!  

This Morrissey case/deal makes it look like Virginia is “soft” on adults who have sex with minors; exchange sexual images with minors and possible get them pregnant and Virginia is NOT “soft” on sex crimes against minors! 

I am appalled that a Virginia lawmaker has been allowed to skate through our laws and penalties when there have been thousands of guilty AND innocent citizens who didn’t have the legal knowledge, the influence of office or the finances to maneuver through our legal system unscathed.

I see today’s decision in the Morrissey case as a future rallying cry from Victim’s Advocates (like PROTECT) to implement harsher laws, penalties, sentencing and more mandates to register as a Sex Offender. They will use this as an example of someone who should have to register as a Sex Offender and didn’t. 

Today’s deal should have never been offered and the judge should have never accepted it. 

Our lawmakers need to be held to the same standards as our citizens are and today we’ve learned those who write and pass our laws can avoid being convicted of them.

Preferential treatment for elected officials is unacceptable, regular Virginians will suffer from today's decision because of the harsher laws that will be proposed and most likely passed in future legislative session because of this case and that's wrong! 

Mary Devoy

More articles on the Morrissey case outcome: 

Democrats pick Sullivan as nominee for Morrissey's seat, December 23, 2014

Kevin Sullivan chosen as nominee for Del. Morrissey’s seat amid lawsuit threat, December 22, 2014

Democrats to pick new candidate for Joe Morrissey’s seat, December 22, 2014

Morrissey will not run for Democratic nomination as lawsuit is planned to change rules, December 20, 2014

Potential candidates start to circle; work to remove Morrissey from office, December 15, 2014

Morrissey to address demands by McAuliffe, Democrats that he resign, December 14, 2014
Joe Morrissey urged to resign from Virginia legislature after conviction, December 13, 2014
A two-thirds majority vote of the House is required to expel a member.

House Democrats call for Morrissey's 'immediate resignation', December 13, 2014
Morrissey's allies call for immediate resignation, December 13, 2014

Exclusive: After conviction, unrepentant Morrissey vows to bring civil case, December 13, 2014

Victim's family divided over Morrissey's conviction, December 12, 2014
Del. Morrissey sentenced to 12 months for sexual delinquency of a minor, December 12, 2014
Explicit texts allegedly sent by Morrissey part of evidence in plea, December 12, 2014