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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Action Alert: HB523- Patroned by Delegate Dave Albo Mandating Registration of Juveniles as Sex Offenders for a Minimum of 10 Years Will be Heard by House Full Committee on Monday February 3, 2014

 
Late yesterday (Friday January 31st 5PM) HB523 – Mandated Registration of juveniles as a Sex Offender for a minimum of 10 years was heard by the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee. 

As in past years the patron Delegate Albo starts by telling everyone in the room what the opposition will be saying against his bill and “that each side will never agree with the other”. Also as in past years there was a line of 6 people there to speak against the bill and no one other than a VSP Representative who gave false information for a justification to vote for the bill and yet it still passed out of Sub-Committee almost unanimously.  

Delegate Albo incorrectly directed the VSP Representative to tell the Committee members (and the entire room) that if HB523 does NOT pass that Virginia will lose Federal funding (10% of its Byrne Grant) because Virginia will be unable to claim Federal Adam Walsh Act/SORNA compliance. This is incorrect per the AWA Final Guidelines . The VSP Representative also told the Committee a higher previous 10% Byrne Grant amount of $300,000, last year for Virginia (per another speaker in opposition of the bill) the actually amount at this time would be $275,000 and its been dropping $25,000-$50,000 every two years for the last 6 years. 

I then walked over to the VSP Representative whom I advised had out-dated information and I was happy to share the Final Guidelines with him, he just smiled and said nothing. I believe he knew he gave false information to the Committee and didn’t expect me to point it out to him or then the entire room. 

Before I began my official statement I told the Committee members that mandating juvenile registration has NOT been a requirement of AWA/SORNA guidelines for the last few years even though patrons continue to claim it is. 

Then as in past years certain members of the Criminal Sub-Committee began personal “side-bar” conversations VERY loudly while I made my opposition statement in an effort to drown-me-out and/or to show they find my statements irrelevant and irritating. Their juvenile rudeness  did cause me to skip parts of my statement out of concern they would stop me mid-way through and I was forced to continue to raise my voice as I read into the microphone so their “protest” was not louder than my statement but it has never dissuaded me before and it didn’t yesterday. 

I did find it comical that 2 Delegates (sub-committee members, I won’t say who) kept asking legal counsel to read aloud to the room what 3 sexual crimes (18.2-61, 18.2-67.1, and 18.2-67.2) were mandating registration.  

One of the 6 speakers was a Commonwealth’s Attorney with many years of prosecuting cases and he asked the Sub-Committee to allow the judges to continue to make the determination of registration and NOT make it a mandate. 

When all the speakers were finished the patron said to everyone, “it’s really not worth debating because the two-sides will never agree. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t”. “You just have to choose which one you want 

Or that another sub-committee member (I won’t say who) after all the speakers against the bill were finished (I checked the audio twice to confirm I have this completely accurate) said, “We sometimes get bills that people think we’ve totally lost our minds not to vote for them and this is one of those bills, I defy you to go home and tell your neighbors and friends at the grocery store and say we had the opportunity to put rapists on the sex offender registry who are under the age of 18 so that could know who they were, where they lived, whether they are in your neighborhood. I understand… (inaudible), we hear them year after year, I suggest, encourage, beseech my colleagues to vote for this measure”. 

So, our elected officials who are NOT supposed to vote on emotion but instead on facts, did just that.
Almost all of them ignored 15 years worth of research, of cases, of juveniles who’ve’ been forced to register and those who haven’t and what the results have all concluded because “Saving-Face” at the grocery store is at risk. Nice!

Here are the votes from Friday’s Criminal Sub-Committee hearing on HB523 (9-1-0-1) 

YEAS--Bell, Robert B., Albo, Cline, Gilbert, Miller, Villanueva, Morris, Adams, Herring--9.
NAYS--Watts--1.
ABSTENTIONS--0.
NOT VOTING--Mason--1. 

HB523 now heads to the Full House Courts of Justice Committee to be voted on this Monday February 3, 2014 and if it passes it goes to the entire House to be voted on. 

I’m asking every reader to please immediately email every member of the Full House Courts of Justice Committee (full list is below) and tell them to vote “NO” on HB523 this coming Monday afternoon.  

If you are wondering what to say in your email you can borrow verbiage from the January 10, 2014 Post OR you can borrow from my full public statement which is here: 

Members of the Sub-Committee, 

Researchers, Therapy Providers, Attorneys and National Organizations have spent years studying the juvenile portion of America’s Sex Offender laws, registries, rehabilitation and re-entry…..they ALL conclude mandating juveniles to register as Sex Offenders does MORE HARM THAN GOOD. 

Kids are not adults. The 2009 Virginia Crime Commission spent a lot of time and research on this topic and they concluded that juveniles are impulsive, they do not think about risks or consequences and punishing them like adults is neither productive for the juveniles nor good for society. 
 

Virginia’s WVEC Plans an Upcoming Broadcast of Sex Offender Registry Search Compared to a School Bus Stop Search

 
February 4, 2014 Update: 

Laws don't prevent sex offenders from living near school bus stops, February 3, 2014
 
WVEC showed the photos and names of offenders who have done NOTHING wrong or illegal; they are following the laws and are compliant. Shame on WVEC!

 
Update: 

I received a response to my below email from WVEC asking me to participate in the upcoming Monday broadcast. 

This was my answer. 

Nick, 

I am always willing to be interviewed for the issues I advocate for but not for a story where you are targeting people who are just trying to live their lives or where you are trying to stir up additional hate and myth amongst parents and towards RSO's. 

You let me know when WVEC is planning a fact driven, educational piece and I will even drive down there. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Davye Devoy


Initial Email:  

Dear WVEC, 

I came across yesterday’s story about bus stops and Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia Beach. 

You ran a similar story on October 7, 2013 and I contacted you back on October 8 about running hype based/ fear-mongering stories on Virginia’s Registered Sex Offender, I gave you the extremely low national recidivism rates and the last 6 years of proposed legislation including bus stops and Registered Sex Offenders in the Commonwealth, obviously facts are unimportant to WVEC and sensationalism is the priority.  

Not only that, BUT your newest story tells WVEC viewers, “Monday night at 6pm on 13News Now, watch what happens as we plug 100 sex offender addresses into the Virginia Beach school bus stop finder 

I do hope WVEC will NOT be broadcasting the faces, names or addresses of 100 completely compliant Registered Sex Offenders on your 6 O’clock news this coming Monday night. 

Any misuse of the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry including harassment or intimidation of an offender is a misdemeanor. If WVEC’s Monday’s broadcast causes unneeded humiliation or lose of housing, employment or relationships because you targeted Virginians who are NOT bothering anyone and who are NOT breaking ANY current Virginia laws I will be sure to connect those who suffer from such a broadcast with civil rights legal representation. 

If you feel the need to show photos or names on your broadcast use the ones from the Wanted page and do a public service in locating the handful of non-compliant Registered Sex Offenders in the Commonwealth and leave those who are compliant and providing for themselves and their families alone. 

I will be sharing this email with Virginia Representatives from the Virginia Beach area and the Virginia State Police contact for the Sex Offender Registry so they are aware of your “teaser” to plug in 100 RSO’s addresses on Monday’s broadcast. 

I want them to be aware that WVEC is recklessly using the information posted on the Registry when there hasn’t been an issue with any RSO at a school bus stop to prompt this upcoming story.