Saturday, March 7, 2015

Action Item: Contact the Virginia Administration to Veto SB1074 and HB1353 AKA “Robby’s Rule” On-Line Supplemental VSP Sex Offender Registry of pre-1994 Convictions

1)  Please contact Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe immediately asking him not to sign SB1074 or HB1353 (Robby’s Rule) into law.

2) Please email Governor Terry McAuliffe’s chief of staff, deputy chief of staff, policy directors and policy advisors: 
3) Please email Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, the 3 Deputy Secretaries and his Policy Assistant asking them to stop Governor McAuliffe from signing SB1074 or HB1353 (Robby’s Rule) into law: 

Virginia Robby’s’ Rule 2015 

SB1074 History:
  1. January 19, 2015 passed out of Senate Courts of Justice Committee 14-0 after public comment was heard
  2. January 27, 2015 passed out of Senate Finance Committee 14-0
  3. January 30, 2015 passed through the Virginia Senate 38-0
  4. Not sent to House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub or to Full Committee for public comment to be heard
  5. February 11, 2015 passed out of House Appropriations 22-0
  6. February 13, 2015 passed through the Virginia House 92-3
  7. Heads to the Governor to be signed into law, vetoed or amended!
HB1353 History:
  1. January 28, 2015 passed out of House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee 11-0 after public comment was heard
  2. February 4, 2015 passed out of House Courts of Justice Full Committee 20-0.
  3. 15 Co-Patrons added
  4. February 10, 2015 passed through the Virginia House 93-6.
  5. February 16, 2015 HB1353 was on the Senate Courts of Justice docket where public comment should have been allowed but instead the Committee conformed HB1353 to match the Senate version (without the patron present), they did not allow public comment and moved it forward 13-0
  6. February 18, 2015 passed Senate 38-0 w/ amendment
  7. February 20, 2015 Senate amendment rejected
  8. February 24 2015 Senate insisted on amendment
  9. Went to “conference” where Delegate Ramadan, Albo, Torian and Senators McDougle, Stanley, Edwards, re-amended the bill in conference
  10. Senate conference report agreed to by Senate 35-3
  11. House conference report agreed to by House 91-5
  12. Heads to the Governor to be signed into law, vetoed or amended!
The Virginia State Police wrote the text of for both of these bills. 

Some Commonwealth Attorneys spoke in support of these bills. 
Camille Cooper Legislative Liaison for PROTECT spoke in support of these bills. 

What does Robby’s Rule, the creation of a Supplemental Sex Offender Registry on the Virginia State Police website do? 

Well supporters would tell you that adding pre-July 1994 sex crimes (when the VSP Sex Offender Registry was created) all the way back to July 1980 is simply “fixing a loophole” and that felony convictions are already a matter of public record and this proposal is just correcting that error, they have also stated that these unregistered Virginians have “fallen through the cracks”. Just last week Delegate Ramadan told Leesburg Today,  It would not require those listed to register their whereabouts, just centralize conviction records that are publicly available anyway.  

What Robby’s Rule 2015 actually does is gather all court records in Virginia from July 1980 to July 1994 for sex crimes that would require registration as a public Sex Offender in 2015 and post them online as a “Supplemental” Sex Offender, with no due process. The name of the person convicted from 3 decades ago would be posted, the jurisdiction of the conviction would be posted, the age at conviction would be posted and the criminal statute of the conviction would be posted.

Robby’s Rule will NOT prevent future crimes, but it may violate Due Process, it WILL include the deceased AND people who no longer live in Virginia. Worst of all it leads the public to wrongly presume Virginians who share the same name are Sex Offenders, with no way to prove their innocence to their landlords, employers, volunteer organizations, congregations and neighbors. 

Virginia would be centralizing ONLY the conviction records of Sex Offenses onto the VSP website under the title of “Supplemental Sex Offender Registry”, these people might not be monitored and managed as Registered Sex Offenders but the State is stigmatizing them as such and that is in deed punitive, not administrative! 

The Virginia Legislature has not required ANY other criminal records to be centralized online, ANYWHERE! 

Why, not? Because it’s unnecessary, it’s costly and it would lead to unsuccessful reentries for those who would be placed unwillingly, without notice and decades later under titles like Supplemental DUI, Drug, Murder, Robbery, Burglary, Embezzlement, Domestic Abuse, Animal Abuse or Larceny Registries. 

Per Robby’s Rule 2015 those who would be placed onto the VSP Supplemental Sex Offender Registry can petition for removal AFTER 15 years (even thought their conviction is already 21 to 30 years old). WHY? Because having your criminal conviction listed on a Supplemental Sex Offender Registry is a not simply centralizing court record it is labeling citizens as a Sex Offender! 

If Virginia wants to “centralize” all criminal convictions in Virginia, then create a new website of ALL criminal convictions but singling out those convicted of a sex offense who have the 2nd lowest recidivism rate of ANY crime in America and who paid their court-ordered debt to society decades ago is narrow-minded, hate-driven and prejudicial. 

Two Virginia newspaper Editorial Boards have weighed in against Robby’s Rule 2015:
·      Sex offender registry: Bad idea, February 20, 2015
·      Virginian Pilot Editorial Board: GA “Hit and Miss, January 31, 2015

Legislators in America have known for a very long time that if they name a bill (proposed legislation) after a victim of a crime to memorialize them, that it’s almost guaranteed to become law. 

When a name is attached to a law it stirs up deep emotion of wanting to honor that victim, to honor their family members and it evokes mantras of “never again”, “if it saves one child” and “this is common sense legislation” claims and stances no lawmaker would ever argue against. To vote against a proposal bearing the name of a victim would be heartless, it would dishonor their memory and it would make the crime they suffered through meaningless.  

No lawmaker wants to oppose a bill named after a victim; it might appear that they are dishonoring the victim. 

Laws SHOULD NOT be passed on emotion.

Laws are supposed to be based on facts. 

Laws are also supposed to protect society, not hurt them. 

Robby’s Rule is an unverified “data dump” of 35 year old court records onto the VSP website that will never be updated, making this year’s version (as opposed to the 2014 version), CHEAP. 

Why would Virginia Legislators, the Virginia State Police and Virginia Prosecutors accept a cheap law that gives the public only partial, unverified information instead of accurate data with an address or photo that would stop misidentifications?

This is what happens when the public allows Legislators to name legislation after crime victims, a bill that will do more harm than good. 

Robby’s Rule 2015 should have been stopped by now, but everyone involved in the process has chosen to look the other way giving the namesake what he wants and ignoring the collateral consequences. 

When innocent Virginians are harmed who will answer?  

Rob Buswell (Robby) is not to blame; he was on a one track personal quest, to get his abuser’s pre-1994 conviction posted online, no matter what. 

The blame for this poorly written and CHEAP law will be on our elected officials and those citizens who believe in naming laws after victims.  

There may be no fiscal cost to the State with Robby’s Rule but there will be a human cost, to innocent citizens that share a name and to rehabilitated citizens would already paid their court ordered sentence in the Commonwealth. 

Robby’s Rule 2015 should NOT become law in Virginia!