Friday, March 27, 2015

Update: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Signed Robby’s Rule 2015 HB1353 Into Law (and Probably SB1074 Too)

Per Virginia Delegate David Ramadan’s Face book page, Governor McAuliffe signed his House version of Robby’s Rule 2015 into law yesterday. It’s not noted in LIS yet but there is always a delay. 

I had hoped the letter sent from the ACLU of Virginia to Governor McAuliffe asking him to veto Robby’s Rule 2015 and the reasons why would have resonated with our Governor, but sadly naming laws that would not have prevented the original crime from occurring after a victim and that will do more harm than good is still the status quo in Virginia. 

Myth, fear, hate, vengeance and prejudice wins out yet again while facts, due process and successful re-entries into our communities are claimed to be important and to matter....... but the proof-is-in-the-pudding. They don't!

I sincerely hope someone who had not committed a crime in 25 or 35 years and is placed on this VSP Supplemental Registry challenges Robby’s Rule as a violation of ex post facto or a denial of due process….and they win......overturning the entire VSP Supplemental Registry. 
I tried my best to stop Robby’s Rule 2015 from becoming law, I’m sorry everyone! 

Mary Devoy

ACLU Virginia "denounces" McAuliffe's signing of sex registry bill, March 27, 2015

Richmond, VA – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia today condemned Governor McAuliffe’s action on two bills that will create a new sex offender registry, SB 1074 and HB 1353. 

“We are disappointed in the Governor’s decision to sign these bills,” said ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga. “Not only does it create an added punishment beyond any penalty handed down as a part of a criminal conviction, it also fails to provide any rational connection to public safety.

The new law will require the Virginia State Police to create a supplemental sex offender registry that includes all persons convicted between July 1980 and July 1994 for a crime that would mandate sex offender registration if it occurred in 2015.  

The supplemental registry will contain a name, year of birth, date of the conviction, jurisdiction in which the conviction occurred, the person’s age on the date of conviction, the offense of which he was convicted, and the Code of Virginia section of the conviction. 

“Many people on the list may have lived decades without reoffending only now to be stigmatized retroactively. Others listed on the new registry may be in prison, may have long since moved out of the jurisdiction or may have died,” added Gastañaga. “Moreover, the new registry does not require inclusion of address or photo to minimize the chance of misidentification, a failure that could result in the labeling of innocent Virginians as sex offenders.” 

The ACLU has long opposed the creation of sex offender registries as ineffective, counter-productive, and a waste of resources better spent on counseling and treatment. It has also maintained, however, that if a sex offender registry must exist, at a minimum, it must have a clear connection to public safety. Virginia’s new law fails to provide that clear connection. 

“The reality is that these public registries don’t make us or our kids safer and do nothing to reduce the risk that a sex offender will reoffend,” Gastañaga also added.  “The proposed new registry is particularly egregious in its lack of safeguards to ensure that the public is given the most accurate information regarding potential sex offenders, thus failing to provide a true safety net” concluded Gastañaga.