Friday, February 20, 2015

Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial Says Robby’s Rule 2015 SB1074/HB1353 is a Bad Idea!

There is no author of this great and short editorial against Robby’s Rule 2015 HB1353 and SB1074 . 

Thank you Richmond Times Dispatch, you are 100% correct about this proposal! 


Sex offender registry: Bad idea

Virginia lawmakers introduce many bad ideas, but they also wisely dispense with a good proportion of them. One of those that has escaped the ax comes from state Sen. Ryan McDougle, and would establish a supplemental sex-offender registry. 

The supplemental registry, which would be published on the State Police website, would include the names of persons who committed various offenses between 1980 and 1994. It would include the location and nature of the offense, and the offender’s date of birth — but no mug shots or other identifying information. 

Imposing a new, ex post facto penalty for decades-old crimes raises a serious due-process issue. Granted, many people don’t care about the effect on the guilty. So consider the effect on the innocent. 

Suppose a person named Bob Smith, born in 1949, committed a sex crime in 1982. Once his name appears in the supplemental registry, any Virginia resident named Bob Smith who is anywhere near retirement age could be mistaken for a sex offender. It wouldn’t matter if the original offender was dead, or had moved out of state, or was serving a prison sentence of life without parole. The legislation makes no exceptions. 

Astoundingly, the bill has passed both houses of the General Assembly. Apparently legislators expect the governor to prevent this terrible proposal from becoming law. Apparently he is going to have to.