Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Some Good News on SB1374!

Back on February 14, 2015 I posted that SB1374 would be heard by the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee on February 16, 2015 (yesterday). 

The statement that I made to the Committee is below for anyone who is interested. 

Good news SB1374 Sex offender registry; failure of defendant to register patroned by Senator Dave Marsden is DEAD for 2015! 

The discussion in Committee went really well and they touched a bit on what my Senate argument had been (I can’t give the exact same statement in both chambers I have to rewrite if a bill makes it to the second chamber) but in the end it was the possibility of creating other unintended defense strategies for defendants if the change in code was made for this one issue. 

If that’s what the Delegates needed to kill the bill, that’s fine with me! 


Mr. Chairman Committee Members, 

For a very brief moment this weekend….. I considered flip-flopping on this bill.   

If I supported this proposal …..it would most likely die…..But I can not sell my soul just to get the outcome I desire. This bill should die on its merits. 

The Virginia State Police has opposed legislation 5 times that would have required them to produce, disperse and update a list of legal requirements to our 21,000+ Registered Sex Offenders. They object to be required by statute to disseminate the ever changing legal restrictions even though they are the official manager and monitor of our RSO’s. 

This year…… the VSP wants to double down….with this bill………for a future brochure that they’ve only drafted…….a brochure that they are under NO obligation to disperse….and a brochure that they are NOT required to update when new laws take effect every July.

Today the Virginia State Police inform our Offenders of the most elementary rules. 

Last summer…. I shared one example with all of you via email…….. of a young man who was planning his honeymoon and needed to travel internationally, the VSP gave him false information that would have resulted in a Felony if he had not reached out to me 

In October of 2013 I also shared with you that a VSP Trooper who was doing Re-Registrations refused to take an Offenders photograph….even though it was due per the statute. The Trooper actually argued…..and when call to a supervisor was finally granted they refused to instruct the Trooper take the photo. Only after emailing all of you did I receive a phone call apologizing for the behavior of the Trooper and I was told that yes a photo should have been taken that day. Few Offenders know the laws or are willing to question the VSP as I am, and yet a Felony hangs in the balance. 

This Bill opens the door for more false or misleading information (unintentionally OR otherwise) leaving the recipient liable for a Felony and the VSP having given the WRONG  information would hold no accountability  

Accountability breeds Responsibility. 

With this proposal you are removing BOTH from the State while holding our citizens to a HIGHER standard. 

There will be more felonies, more prosecutions and a higher recidivism rate with needless incarcerations.

Until a process to disseminate the current AND newly passed restrictions is put into code we should NOT be removing ALL liability from those who have been tasked to manage and monitor those on the Virginia Registry. 

Thank you