Sunday, April 6, 2014

Virginia ACLU Questions Validity of Massive Child Pornography Investigation in Louisa

Personally, I’m not surprised a questionable sex crime investigation/seizure of property from this county has caught the attention of the ACLU-VA. 

Louisa County Commonwealths Attorney is Rusty McGuire .   

Mr. McGuire, for those of you who aren’t familiar with him is connected with (might have founded) the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), demanded the Virginia anti-sodomy law be upheld otherwise along with former A.G. Cuccinelli because all of Mr. McGuire’s past convictions would possibly fall apart, plus his yearly lobbying partnership with Camille Cooper of PROTECT for more ICAC funding, victim restitution (both state and federal), eliminating the statute of limitations both civil and criminal, increasing court fees for defendants to fund more sexual crime task forces and sting operations plus lowering the bar for evidence, burden of proof  and guilt in sexual cases while raising the penalty. They also both attend speaking engagements across the state on child pornography. Every biography and article you find references Mr. McGuire's personal mission to lock up "sexual predators" and "sex offenders" for as long as possible.

In was just a matter of time before Louisa Co. swept up minor aged teenagers as child pornographers who are now being considered for prosecution.  

Juveniles across the Commonwealth take, send and receive sexual images of friends, classmates and teammates daily, it’s what teens do today, unfortunately. But it should not be a criminal offense with a mandatory minimum prison term and a lifetime as a registered sex offender. Such a fate is not productive for the state or for the juvenile and neither is the looming threat of prosecution while the Commonwealth Attorney mulls over filing charges or not filing charges for this behavior. While they wait to learn their fate one of them might give up waiting on the Prosecutor to make a decision while others released information to the media like Christian Adamek of Alabama did back in October 2013 hanging himself out of fear of being a registered sex offender. 

Louisa may think this is a “teachable moment” for the Louisa, Hanover and Goochland teens but having this investigation/seizure in the news is much, much more. 

This is where a conflict of interest that should never be allowed shows how state employees/department are allowed to double-dip in Virginia. They control the laws being written, they apply the laws as they see fit or not and they get the laws amended and funded when they decide. Do we wind up with a fair, balanced or just playing field? Not at all and that’s how they want it.

We have a Prosecutor (Commonwealth’s Attorney) who has the ability to file charges or not, who prosecutes defendants in a court of law, who has the authority to withhold discovery, who has a large hand in the Southern ICAC which operates “stings” to entrap people, who lobbies for more ICAC funding, for mandatory minimums (giving Prosecutors the upper hand), for the elimination of statutes of limitations (Prosecutors can take a case 20, 30 or 40 years after the fact), for harsher punishments (more plea bargaining for the Prosecutors) and for lowering the burden of proof (guaranteeing a conviction for the Prosecution) all alongside of a national child abuse organization PROTECT so it doesn’t look like he’s lobbying to benefit his office, his employees and to maintain not only a high conviction rate but a yearly increase of perpetrators, all under the guise of protecting the children. Who is going to argue?
How about the 100 children currently being considered child pornographers?  

ACLU questions validity of massive child pornography investigation in Louisa, April 4, 2014

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - The American Civil Liberties Union is speaking out, saying it's concerned with how police are handling a massive child porn investigation in Central Virginia. 

NBC12 was the first to tell you that authorities are looking into more than one thousand inappropriate pictures and videos posted online involving teens in Louisa, Hanover and Goochland. 

The ACLU goes as far to say that minors have the constitutional right to take nude photos of themselves and send it to most whomever they chose. While, according to investigators, they're trying to save these teens from committing crimes that will forever mar their record. 

More than one hundred children and teens are allegedly involved in the scandal spanning at least three jurisdictions.
As part of their investigation, Louisa investigators say more than a dozen cell phones were confiscated. 

Lisa Suhay: Virginia's Homeless Sex Offenders Need Shelter and Redemption

Dear Ms. Suhay, 

I just read your editorial in the Virginian Pilot, Suhay: Homeless offenders need shelter and redemption (See article below) and I knew I had to send you a thank you email right away. 

Just two months ago there was a proposal at the 2014 Virginia G.A. to restrict movement and contact of RSO’s at libraries. The Commonwealth’s Attorney that made the request for the bill told me on the phone in January that she knew it was unconstitutional to ban RSO’s from libraries but basically the bill in its original form and its amended form would have done just that. I was the ONLY person to speak publically against the proposal and sent mass email blasts against the amended version. You can read about the bill in older posts from my blog here , , , , , , . 

Thankfully the proposed 2014 bill “died” in the Finance Committee I believe due to the points I raised against it. But, if I had not been there to monitor the bills and been willing to speak against this one I believe because a C.A. asked for it, it had a very, very good chance of becoming law this July. As you hold your chess groups at a Norfolk library and at least one of your members would have been affected by the proposed law I wanted you to understand how often and how easily small rights and freedoms of those you serve are regularly taken away, for no good reason. 

I know that speaking up for those our Government and that Victims groups regularly call “heinous monsters” isn’t an easy path. I know that when a good article or editorial does gets published there are usually hateful, ignorant and cruel comments from the public against it. 

I want to thank you for helping and accepting Anthony as the person he wants to be, not for the person he was when a non-contact crime was committed. That brief moment in time when he made a stupid mistake is all the state of Virginia will ever see him as and they will use it to continually punish him year after year, hoping he will just give up and go away.  

I hope and pray Anthony doesn’t give up and can one day soon become a successful member of society who has a roof over his head, a job he is proud to hold and maybe even someone to love. Until then he has someone with a kind heart like you to keep him afloat. 

Mary Devoy

Lisa Suhay: Homeless offenders need shelter and redemption, April 6, 2014

Helping the homeless may begin with a hot meal and shelter for the night, but if we want to end homelessness, our efforts must extend to leaps of faith and acts of humanity. 

Because my brother, age 44, is bipolar, unwilling to accept my help and often homeless by choice in New Jersey and New York City, I tend to compensate by extending what little assistance I can to those within my reach. 

I have learned about the harsh realities facing the homeless men, women and children of our region. The rules for homeless shelters are pretty similar from state to state. Adults who have been convicted of a sex crime are not welcome at most - they often end up sleeping outdoors. And shelters don't allow "guests" during daylight hours. 

When I volunteered in January to help with the Norfolk Emergency Shelter Team at my church, I was told the daytime rule is designed to encourage homeless people to seek more permanent arrangements, rather than making a safety net into a hammock. 

Therefore, during the daytime when it's extremely cold or hot, the homeless gravitate to libraries and shopping malls - when not trudging all over town to find meals.

Over the past six years, I have run a free chess program, the Norfolk Initiative for Chess Excellence, at libraries, community centers, schools and parks. 

Chess venues and the homeless have a lot of overlap. 

A few months ago I met Anthony, 44, who is one of those consigned to homeless purgatory after having committed the crime of downloading child pornography onto his home computer five years ago. 

Learning he was homeless took a month. And I didn't find out he is a registered sex offender due to the pornographic downloads until last week. 

All I knew was he plays chess well, is genius at helping others understand the game and is always at the library on Saturdays. 

I also noticed he refused to play chess with kids, but I figured he's like many adult chess players who fear the humiliation of being beaten at the game by a child.