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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February 25, 2014 Special Election for Virginia 100th House District Seat

 
Update: 

Republican Bloxom easily wins House seat on Eastern Shore, February 26, 2014
Victory gives party 68 seats in 100-member chamber
 

Original Post:
After Delegate Lynwood Lewis won the Special Election on January 7, 2014 for the Senate 6th District Seat that left a vacancy in his House seat resulting in no representative for the 100th during the 2014 Virginia General Assembly session that should adjourn around Saturday March 8, 2014. 

A Special Election for the 100th House District has been scheduled for February 25, 2014 so the winner will get to Richmond with only 8-10 days left in session. 

Do you live in the 100th   District?
  • Counties of Accomack and Northampton
  • Cities of Norfolk (part) and Virginia Beach (part)
If you aren’t sure look up your District /Current State Delegate and Senator by your address. 

The candidates for the February 25, 2014 Special Election are: 

House 100th District:
Willie C. Randall              (D)         www.randallfordelegate.com
Robert S. Bloxom Jr.       (R)         www.robbloxom.com

If you live in this district and are a registered voter, please read up on the candidates. 

Do you have family members or friends in this district? 

You should contact the candidate(s) in your district, introduce yourself, tell them what issues concern you and let them know you will be voting on February 25th . Have your family and friends do the same. 

Be sure that your voice is heard on February 25, 2014. VOTE! 

Mary Devoy 

Americas Misguided Child Pornography Laws Do Little to Protect Children, but Plenty to Fund the State, the Feds and the Victims Advocate Groups


In 2013 the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission studied the inconstancies in our code with those who view/possess/reproduce (forward it to someone else) child pornography images mandating longer sentences than those who produced/created the images and actually abused the children. After months of work and 4 public meetings the VCSC voted to lower the sentences by a very small amount for those who possess such images (Recommendation #2). This was the first time in 19 years of the VCSC existence that they have ever recommended lowering a sentence and as soon as it was announced PROTECT pounced with this report vowing to stop the decrease from occurring. 

Out of the five 2013 VCSC recommendations there was an increase in the on-line solicitation of a minor (Recommendation #1) and PROTECT had no issue with the VCSC raising a sentence but when it came to lowering a sentence they rushed to find a Delegate (Bell-HB504) and a Senator (McDougle-SB433) to patron companion legislation to stop the decrease from occurring. 

Why? Well, I’ve posted about it before if you’re interested. 

There is a lot of money at stake in the prosecution, incarceration, restitution, probation, therapy and monitoring of those who possess child pornography. Federal grants, State grants, Annual  Budgets, Civil Restitution, Seizure of Personal Property, Prison bed quotas, local communities depending on prison jobs, Therapy Providers, Polygraph Examiners, Probation Officers, Halfway Houses, GPS Fees, Dept. of Social Services, VSP Sex Offender Compliance Officers and the list goes on and on. Viewers of Child Pornography are being squeezed for every last dime similar to the adults who smoke cigarettes and chew tobacco products, tax them for schools, tax them for new roads, tax them for daycare centers. No one is going to stick up for “those vial smokers”, just like Sex Offenders. 

If the government went after the websites and the producers of the Child Pornography then there would be no viewers/customers, no industry at all. But they don’t! Our Government continues to go after the viewers/customers because they are the “cash cows” and keeps the money flowing for all the groups listed above. 

Now HB504 and SB433 will pass through the 2014 Virginia General Assembly and most likely be signed by the Governor and the first positive step in 15 years of draconian laws aimed at the viewers (customers) and not at the producers (abusers) will never be implemented. And the VCSC will probably rethink ever recommending a decrease in sentencing ever again at least when it comes to Child Pornography and THAT is the real wrongdoing in all of this.  

Here are 2 great articles by the same writer about these misguided laws.

Mary Devoy

Our misguided child porn laws do little to protect children
By Jacob Sullum               February 11, 2014

In the letter he wrote on the day he hanged himself last month, Ryan Loskarn talked about the shame and guilt he felt after he was caught with child pornography. Loskarn, former chief of staff to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), did not mention fear of prison, perhaps because he had already resolved to end his life. But for anyone in his position who planned to stay alive, the prospect of spending years behind bars would loom large. 

The legal treatment of people caught with child pornography is so harsh that they can end up serving longer sentences than people who actually abuse children. In a 2009 analysis, federal public defender Troy Stabenow shows that a defendant with no prior criminal record and no history of abusing children would qualify for a sentence of 15 to 20 years based on a small collection of child pornography and one photo swap, while a 50-year-old man who encountered a 13-year-old girl online and lured her into a sexual relationship would get no more than four years. 
 

Edgar Coker Jr.:UVA Law Clinics Help Exonerate Man Convicted of Rape, Ending Seven-Year Struggle

 
UVA Law Clinics Help Exonerate Man Convicted of Rape, Ending Seven-Year Struggle

After a legal battle spanning almost seven years, the University of Virginia School of Law's Innocence Project and Child Advocacy clinics have helped exonerate a man falsely accused of rape in 2007, when he was 15. 

In an order released by the Stafford County circuit court on Monday, Judge Jane Marum Roush vacated the conviction of Mineral resident Edgar Coker and said he was no longer required to register as a sex offender. Roush's opinion also said the original defense attorney's representation of Coker "was not reasonably competent." 

The order followed an extended effort by Coker's legal team to clear his name. 

"It was very important to many people that we hang in there and keep defending Edgar Coker, no matter the legal hurdles, the odds or the costs," said Deirdre Enright, director of investigation for the Innocence Project Clinic. "Edgar Coker is and always was innocent, in spite of legal determinations to the contrary.  He plead guilty to avoid being sent to an adult detention center, and sadly, he’s not the only child in Virginia — or in this country — who has been forced to face such a draconian choice.  Edgar’s case should motivate us to re-evaluate circumstances under which a prosecutor can make such a threat in a case like this." 

Andrew Block, director of the Child Advocacy Clinic, said the judge's decision was a call for lawyers to take representing juveniles seriously. 

"The court made quite clear that failing to prepare or just figuring things out on the day of court are constitutionally deficient legal strategies," Block said. "While you might think that would be obvious, here in Virginia where we have the lowest-paid court-appointed lawyers in the country, and no transcripts of juvenile proceedings, this opinion, unfortunately, is a necessary reminder for both lawyers and judges of what is required to effectively represent kids."
 
After a prosecutor threatened to try him as an adult and seek a lengthy prison sentence, Coker pleaded guilty in juvenile court to rape and breaking and entering in 2007. Following his conviction, Coker was incarcerated by the Department of Juvenile Justice for 15 months and listed on the sex offender registry for six years.