On Monday I was in the Senate Courts of Justice hearing when HB233 was being discussed.
How name of person may be changed; sex offenders; probationers; incarcerated persons. Provides that applications for a change of name by persons for whom registration with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is required may only be accepted by a court after a finding that good cause exists for such application. The bill provides that if the court accepts an application from a probationer, person for whom registration with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is required, or incarcerated person, a copy of the application shall be mailed or delivered to the attorney for the Commonwealth for the jurisdiction where the petition was filed and the attorney for the Commonwealth for any jurisdiction where a conviction occurred that resulted in the petitioner's restricted status. The bill also provides that the attorney for the Commonwealth where the petition was filed shall be entitled to respond and represent the interests of the Commonwealth. The bill provides that the court shall conduct a hearing on such applications and may order a change of name if the court determines that it would not frustrate a legitimate law-enforcement purpose, is not sought for a fraudulent purpose, and would not otherwise infringe upon the rights of others. The bill also provides that the order shall contain written findings stating the court's basis for granting the order.
The bill also provides that any order granting a change of name that fails to comport with the requirements is void ab initio and that the attorney for the Commonwealth for the jurisdiction where the petition was filed has the authority to bring an independent action at any time to have such order declared void. The bill also provides that if an order granting a change of name is declared void or if a person is convicted of perjury for unlawfully changing his name, the clerk of the court entering the order or the order of conviction shall transmit a certified copy of the order to the State Registrar of Vital Records, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the State Board of Elections, the Central Criminal Records Exchange, and any agency or department of the Commonwealth that has issued a license to the person where such license utilizes the person's changed name.
HB233 is a bill I had not been following since I do not oppose the proposal. I had missed the explanation of its intent in the House so I was very surprised by what the patron told the Senate on February 17, 2014.
On Monday the patron mentioned that a Registered Sex Offender had changed his name and the victim was unable to locate him on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry because of the change. The article (link above) was titled Dodging Google.
With this information/reasoning for HB233 being proposed I can confidently tell everyone that HB233 will NOT fix the problem.
But I do know what will.