Requires juveniles adjudicated delinquent of rape, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration to register on the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. The bill also provides a procedure for removal of the name of a person who was adjudicated delinquent as a juvenile from the Registry.
So not to be a pessimist on every Action Alert, I will start this post by saying………
There are two “good” things about this version compared to proposals from previous years
- As written it is not retroactive there is a start date of July 1, 2014. But that doesn’t mean they won’t try and remove that date in Committee, they’ve done that before.
- The other is after 10 years a petition can be submitted for removal, in past years there was no option to petition at all. But again, they could remove this portion during Committee.
OK, now onto why this proposal should NOT become law!
Virginia we do register juveniles as Sex Offenders but it’s left in the
hands of the judges that the
lawmakers appoint to the bench. The judges have all the evidence of the
individual case in front of them to determine if registration is appropriate
for each specific juvenile. Virginia
This proposed mandate will take that very important decision out of the courtroom where it should remain, just like a mandatory minimum does.
HB523 adds the juveniles to our existing public registry whereas one or two previous versions were for a private (authorities only) registry.
Back on May 1, 2013 I emailed all 140 Virginia Legislators (except the 15 newly elected Delegates) a link to the 111 page report: Raised on the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US by Nicole Pittman with Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org/node/115179 and the USA Today article on the report.
And here we are 8 months after I emailed them this report with a proposal to mandate registration for juveniles.
For 6 sessions now I have shared with the lawmakers the list of books, reports and studies by experts in the field that all conclude juveniles should NOT be required to register as Sex Offenders.
· Sexual Offenses and Offenders: Theory, Practice, and Policy by Karen J. Terry, 2013
· Understanding, Assessing and Rehabilitating Juvenile Sexual Offenders by Phil Rich, 2011
· Age of Consent (At Issue Series) by Olivia Ferguson and Hayley Mitchell Haugen, 2010
· Juvenile Sexual Offending: Causes, Consequences, and Correction by Gail Ryan, Tom F. Leversee and
Sandy Lane, 2010
· The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality and Law by
· The Perversion of Youth: Controversies in the Assessment and Treatment of Juvenile Sex Offenders by Frank DiCataldo, 2009
· An American Travesty: Legal Responses to Adolescent Sexual Offending by Franklin E. Zimring, 2009
· Sex Offenders: Identification, Risk Assessment, Treatment, and Legal Issues by Fabian M. Saleh, Albert J. Grudzinskas, John M. Bradford & Daniel J. Brodsky, 2009
· The Juvenile Sex Offender by Howard E. Barbaree and William L. Marshall, 2008
· Juvenile Sex Offenders: What the Public Needs to Know by Camille Gibson and Donna M. Vandiver, 2008
· Sex Offender Registry Platform: The National Juvenile Justice Network, July 2012
· Romeo and Juliet: The 21st Century Juvenile Sex Offenders by Chauntelle R. Wood, March 2012
· The Case for Modifying Juvenile Sex Offender Registry Requirements in Delaware, by Stand Up for What’s Right and Just, 2011
· Adolescent Sexual Behavior and the Law by Brittany Logino Smith & Glen A. Kercher, March 2011
· Sex Offender Registration and the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Legal and Policy Implications of Registering Juvenile Sex Offenders by Carole Petersen & Susan Chandler, 2011
· Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Requirements Deter Juvenile Sex Crimes? By
May 2010 South Carolina
· Net-widening in Delaware: The Overuse of Registration and Residential Treatment for Youth Who Commit Sex Offenses, by Chrysanthi S. Leon, David L. Burton & Dana Alvare, February 2010
· Youth Sex Offenses Fact and Fiction by Justice Policy Institute, February 2009
· Effects of Sex Offender Registration Policies on Juvenile Justice Decision Making by Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Debajyoti Sinha & Kevin Armstrong, January 2009
· Resolution in Opposition of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act as it Applies to Juvenile Offenders, by The Council of State Governments, December 2008
· Justice Served? The High Cost of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration by Phoebe Geer, 2008
· No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the U.S Human Rights Watch Study, September 2007
· What Research Shows About Adolescent Sex Offenders: NationalCenter on Sexual Behavior of Youth, by Mark Chaffin, Barbara Bonner and Keri Pierce, July 2003
· Coming of Age in
The Misapplication of Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Laws
to Juveniles by
Elizabeth Garfinkle, January 2003 America
The willful ignorance by our elected officials is beyond frustrating!
When you know better, you’re supposed to do better.
But it seems when it comes to Registered Sex Offenders or mandating juveniles register, knowledge is not power for the Virginia Legislators. I’m sure they must think to themselves “why does that Mary Devoy keep bringing up those darn facts”. The same thing routinely occurs when I reference actual recidivism rates for Sex Offenders the room goes silent and no lawmaker will look directly at me.
Instead of listening to facts or reading the research we have some Legislators who continue to push the logical fallacy that juvenile sex offenders can not be rehabilitated, that they are mentally disturbed, that they will grow up to become Adult Sex Offenders, that being on a public Registry is not punitive but simply administrative and that by mandating them to be posted on a public Registry is paramount to public safety.
The sponsors of past proposals have even claimed to be Federal Adam Walsh Act AWA /SORNA compliant juveniles must be mandated to register even though every year a mandate is proposed I remind them the SORNA Final Guidelines no longer require juvenile registration.
For anyone who believes registration of juveniles is a good idea or equals “justice”, here are some facts.