Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Action Item: HB1366 Passed out of House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee and Moves onto the Full Courts of Justice


ACLU questions new sex offender bill, January 20, 2015

Original Post:

Late yesterday afternoon the Virginia House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee passed Delegate Campbell’s HB1366 onto the Full Courts of Justice Committee. 

I was the only opponent (as usual) against this terrible proposal, the Virginia School Board Representative stood in favor of the proposal and not one Commonwealth’s Attorney (and there were plenty in the room) stood up to question the bill.  

There were also no reporters in the room during the discussion but afterwards NBC12 located Claire from the ACLU of Virginia and she gave a great response to the proposal. VIRGINIA ACLU: New sex offender bill 'invitation to throw stones’, January 19, 2015 http://www.nbc12.com/story/27887584/virginia-aclu-new-sex-offender-bill-invitation-to-throw-stones 

How many petitions are filed by parents every year in Virginia? 

How many of those are granted or are denied? 

I believe this data is extremely important to know because if this bill becomes law, the denial rate by Judges will skyrocket due to the public pressure and that should not be a goal of this bill but it will be a result, intended or not.

The bill now goes onto the Full House Courts of Justice Committee most likely to be heard this Wednesday (tomorrow) or this Friday. 

Below is the statement that I made against the HB1366 yesterday and here are past posts on the HB1366.
I hope everyone will take points from the older posts or the below statement and Email or call your one Virginia Delegate and if you are feeling industrious every member of the House Courts of Justice Committee (see list below) TODAY and ask them to vote “No” on HB1366! 

Thank you! 

Mary Devoy 

My Statement:

Petitioning the court as a parent or guardian who is also a Registered Sex Offender is already a time consuming and expensive process. For a parent to drop-off or pick-up their own child from daycare or school, to attend their play, concert, basketball game or graduation on or off school property they must file a petition with the local court, hire an attorney and attend a hearing all while missing work. Every time their child moves to a new school or district the parent must re-apply, starting the process all over again while knowing they could be denied. 

Keep in mind…..many of these parents are single…..with no spouse to pick up the duties and obligations of getting the child to and from school……and in some parts of the State they would not have a bus option, the parent is the ONLY mode of transport to school! 

This proposal would require the Registered parent to pay for a newspaper advertisement (for 2 weeks) about their personal court hearing inviting the general public to object to the parent’s request.  

Someone they don’t even know can have a say in a court proceeding JUST because they are publicly posted as a Registered Sex Offender on the VSP Registry. 

This proposal creates a public spectacle of each and every petitioner’s rights as allowed by law. 

Obviously complete strangers (especially in our smaller communities) are going to show up in droves to object to the petition thereby creating a mob of angry parents and citizens spewing vitriolic opinions about someone they don’t even know. 

With this proposal EVERY…….SINGLE…… petition will now require additional police presence inside and out of the courthouse…. to deescalate the inevitable “Angry Mob” AND media presence. The odds of a violent encounter in the parking lot…..possibly in front of the child whose parent has filed the petition are extremely high. Imagine the bullying the child of the Offender will endure between the newspaper announcements and the public hearing….. it’s a recipe for disaster. 

The public outcry and the pressure will result in every Judge in the Commonwealth denying every petition. 

Harassment and intimidation tactics instead of facts will Rule….our Courts.  

Do we allow complete strangers to testify in:
Divorce Hearings?
Custody Hearings?
Restraining Orders?
Commitment Hearings 

No!  and for good reason! 

Our Rule of Law does not apply to a select segment of society that the majority deems worthy, it applies to ALL of society, including those who are openly despised. 

Our courts are supposed to protect the individual liberties of every citizen who comes before it; this proposal strips that protection away. 

Creating laws and procedures only for sex crimes that are driven by visceral revulsion….can ONLY result in self-defeating policies, unconstitutional laws and cruel punishments……those might look good in a election brochure but they do not serve justice or our citizens well. 

Every citizen in the Commonwealth deserves a fair and impartial hearing….. in front of a fair and impartial judge; this proposal creates a biased, divisive and skewed environment where  a fair outcome is impossible. 

Our school districts are already part of the petition process and no additional parties or requirements need to be added onto this private court proceeding. Judges who grant these requests don’t do so lightly. They are quite aware of the public perceptions, but a denial should be based on “Just Cause” (A reasonable and lawful ground for action)…. NOT because of hate or fear which is the basis for this proposal. 


2015 - House Courts of Justice Full Committee 

Richmond, VA. During Session
David Albo*
Les Adams*
Robert Bell*                                      *Also on VSCC
Jeffrey Campbell
Benjamin Cline*
*Also on VCSC
C. Todd Gilbert*       *Also on VSCC
Gregory Habeeb
Charniele Herring* *Also on VSCC
Patrick Hope
Terry Kilgore
Dave LaRock
James "Jay" Leftwich
Joseph Lindsey
G. Manoli Loupassi *Also on VSCC
Jennifer McClellan
*Also on VSCC
T. Monty Mason*
Jackson Miller*
J. Randall Minchew
Richard Morris*
David Toscano
Ron Villanueva*
Vivian Watts*

*  -On Criminal Sub-Committee