Thursday, January 29, 2015

Robby’s Rule 2015 SB1074 and HB1353 Creating a Supplemental VSP Registry that Will List Deceased Virginians, Virginians Who Moved out of State Long Ago and Will Lead to Innocent Virginians Being Confused for Sex Offenders and They Will Have No Recourse


February 10, 2015 Full Vote on the Virginia House Floor: 

93 Yeas – 6 Nays 

Breakdown by Delegate: 

YEAS--Adams, Albo, Anderson, Austin, BaCote, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Berg, Bloxom, Bulova, Byron, Campbell, Carr, Cline, Cole, Cox, Davis, DeSteph, Edmunds, Fariss, Farrell, Filler-Corn, Fowler, Futrell, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Head, Helsel, Herring, Hester, Hodges, Hugo, Ingram, James, Joannou, Jones, Keam, Kilgore, Knight, Landes, LaRock, Leftwich, LeMunyon, Lindsey, Lingamfelter, Lopez, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Marshall, R.G., Mason, Massie, McClellan, McQuinn, Miller, Minchew, Morefield, Morris, Morrissey, Murphy, O'Bannon, O'Quinn, Orrock, Peace, Pillion, Plum, Pogge, Poindexter, Preston, Ramadan, Ransone, Robinson, Rush, Rust, Scott, Sickles, Simon, Spruill, Stolle, Taylor, Torian, Tyler, Villanueva, Ward, Ware, Watts, Webert, Wilt, Wright, Yancey, Yost, Mr. Speaker--93 

NAYS--Hope, Kory, Krupicka, Rasoul, Sullivan, Surovell--6.  


NOT VOTING--Toscano--1 

Original Post:
Robby’s Rule 2015 is still alive, both the House and the Senate version and the number of co-patrons have skyrocketed.

Senators McDougle and Wexton SB1074 passed out of Senate Finance on Tuesday and onto the chamber floor for a full vote. 

Delegates Ramadan, Bell, Campbell, Edmunds, Fowler, Garrett, Greason, Head Hodges, Keam, Marshall, Pogge, Simon, Villanueva and Wilt HB1353 passed out of House Criminal Sub Committee and onto the Full Courts of Justice Committee. Based on the number of newly added patrons I believe this poorly drafted (but yet cheap) bill with the main goal of getting Robby’s Abusers pre-1994 conviction posted on-line will become law in Virginia this July. 

I haven't given up ........but I can see the writing on the wall. I just hope those who are posted on-line take a legal court challenge against Robby's Rule AND those who are incorrectly presumed to be a Sex Offender because they share a name and yet the online VSP post isn't able to rule them out as the Sex Offender also take a legal challenge against Robby's Rule. For their reputations being smeared by a State run website with out-dated and vague information especially if they lose jobs, rental properties, friends and family because of the confusion, I hope they have grounds for a civil suit. Because the Virginia Legislators, the VSP and all the patrons won't be able to claim ignorance, I've raised the alarm and they willfully ignored the collateral consequences that will occur because of Robby's Rule.

The Robby’s Rule VSP “Supplemental Registry” would list the name of someone from 20 or 30 years ago and the jurisdiction their conviction occurred in. Today they may have a different name and they may live 100 miles from that jurisdiction…. BUT the public will not know that.  

The original conviction was most likely a misdemeanor in 1980 or 1990, but TODAY it is a felony so when the public clicks on the statute they will read about a FELONY including years of additions…..making the information meaningless but appearing to be significant 

The most obvious problem with this Supplemental Registry will be mistaken identity. What if an innocent person shares the same name with someone who is placed on this Supplemental Registry for a 1982 conviction? 

There will be no photo to rule out the innocent person. 

There will be no address to rule out the innocent person. 

As an example I checked just a few names of House Criminal Sub-Committee members as my name is too unusual to make a point:

How many Robert Bell’s are in Virginia?                Per the Internet White Pages I found More than a 100.
How many Ben Cline’s?                                              5
Richard Morris?                                                           More than a 100
Todd Gilbert?                                                                6 

Let’s say there are 4 Virginians who share these names and have sex convictions from 1982 that are added to the new VSP Supplemental Registry. 

The Delegates won't be wrongly presumed of being a "Sex Offender", but what about the other 203 Virginians with the same name?  

They'll notice co-workers don’t chat with them anymore, they'll be denied promotions or perhaps they'll lose their jobs for no reason and then every job application is ignored without even an interview. They've become unemployable for no reason. Their neighbors no longer look them in the eye, the organizations they volunteered with for years aren’t calling them, maybe their landlord’s refuse to renew their leases and every application for a new rental is denied one after another. Suspicion of presumed guilt is a damaging reality. 

Once they find out that their name is posted on-line, they have no recourse, no way to clear their name, no way to prove to everyone they are innocent and that is not them. 

Lives, careers and reputations will be ruined. 

Last years version minimized mistaken identities but had a fiscal impact of $1.69 million and the cost did not support the benefit. This year’s version has very little fiscal cost to the State but unverified information of people who may have died or moved out of state, that’s a far greater cost…a human cost. 

The collateral damage of Robby’s Rule will be incalculable. 

The fact is there is nothing that will prevent the guilty party, from simply changing their legal name AND they will! 

The Commonwealth speaks of restorative justice and successful re-entries of former-offenders, but bills like this that go back 3 and 4 decades make such claims hollow. 

I suggested to the Criminal Sub-Committee to amend the bill to lessen the destruction it will cause for innocent citizens. 

Instead of creating a New, Separate Out-Dated and Vague Registry why not add any pre-1994 convictions for those who are ALREADY listed on the Regular VSP Registry, but they didn’t seem interested. 

I have been the ONLY person publically opposing these bills even though there is supposedly another advocate for Registry reform in Virginia that has been accepting donations from Virginians for over 2 years, that advocate has NEVER lobbied at a Virginia G.A. session. Showing up in-person isn’t easy, believe me I’ve been doing it for 7 years now but it is necessary even if I lose more than I win. The Legislators all know me and they do listen to my arguments and that’s why I continue to show up year after year. 

I’ve heard from many of you about other 2015 bills that I’ve posted action alerts about during this session, but no one has written to me about Robby’s Rule and I think that’s because you figure it doesn’t affect you so why bother opposing it. 

Well, Robby’s Rule doesn’t affect me either, but it’s a very bad bill that will sweep up Virginians who have not offended in 2, 3 and almost 4 decades. They will lose jobs, homes, volunteer positions, their churches may ask them to leave, neighbors will begin to shun them and their support system (family) may decide the stress of being posted is too much. Then on top of that........there will be the Virginians who share a name with someone listed and will be misidentified and they will have no recourse to clear their name, to prove that name and conviction posted isn’t them. And all of this is wrong 

During Robby's testimony yesterday he said when he realized his abusers pre-1994 conviction wasn't posted on the VSP Registry "he was angry" and "it wasn't fair", (I have the audio of the hearing). Robby has previously claimed these bills aren't about vengeance and he never civilly sued his abuser, but he is angry, he admitted it.
Bills like Robby's Rule is exactly what happens when lawmakers allow victims and family members of victims to request legislation, emotion (anger) takes over and lawmakers want to rally behind victims of crime no matter how much collateral damage the proposal causes across the state. 

Just because a bad bill doesn’t affect you directly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act. 

Please Email or call your one Virginia Delegate and ask them to vote “No” on HB1353! 

Please Email or call your one Virginia Senator and ask them to vote “No” on SB1074!