Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Virginia Bill HJ282 Patroned by Senator Emmett Hanger For the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to Study the Virginia Sex Offender Registry Efficacy in 2015


On January 27, 2015 the Senate Committee on Rules “passed the bill by” by a voice vote.
The Bill is Dead for 2015, there will be no study on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry.
Original Post:

Prefiled January 14, 2015  

Requesting the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to study the effectiveness of sex offender registry requirements on public safety. Report.  

Patron/ Sponsor — Senator Emmett W. Hanger Jr.  

Referred to Virginia Senate Committee on Rules  

WHEREAS, it is important that citizens feel safe from crime in their homes and communities, and in addition to assisting law-enforcement, an important purpose of Virginia's Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry is to provide the public with the necessary information to take appropriate safety measures; and  

WHEREAS, since 1994, three federal laws have encouraged states to establish sex offender registries or risk the loss of federal funding: the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (1994), the Pam Lychner Sex Offender Tracking and Identification Act (1996), and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (2006); and  

WHEREAS, since 1994, the number of crimes for which registration is required has increased, the information that is required at registration has grown substantially, and public access to information on individual sex offenders has expanded; and   

WHEREAS, concerns have been raised about the breadth of registration and whether the breadth of registration makes it difficult to distinguish predatory behavior and whether citizen reliance on the sex offender registry can be misplaced in certain instances; now, therefore, be it 

Action Item for Virginia Senator Tom Garrett’s Bill SB1138 It Has NO Start Date So it Will Retroactively Reclassify an Unknown Quantity of Non-Violent Offenders to Violent, Denying Them Due Process and Violating Ex Post Facto!

Senator Tom Garrett’s 2015 SB1138 is identical to his 2014 SB442 which was left to “die” in the Senate Finance Committee for very good reason. 

Summary of SB1138:
Sexual abuse of certain children; penalty. Raises the penalty for sexual abuse (a defined term) of a child 13 or 14 years old from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.
Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong!

SB1138 does NOT have a start date of July 1, 2015; this means as currently written this proposal to increase the penalty for sexual abuse of a 13 or 14 year old from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony would be applied retroactive, not beginning for those convicted on or after July 1, 2015.  So anyone convicted in 2014, 2010, 2005, 2000, 1997 or even earlier would be retroactively reclassified from a Non-Violent Sex Offender to a Violent Sex Offender, without ANY due process. These newly categorized Violent Sex Offenders would now become “lifers” on the Virginia Registry, requiring Virginia State Police (VSP) monitoring and management until they die.  

By not adding a start date to SB 1138 per § 9.1-901. Section C, Senator Garrett and any Virginia lawmaker who votes for SB1138 is denying Virginians due process and violating ex post facto.

How do I know this? Because the Virginia State Police has previously applied Legislative changes exactly like SB1138 retroactively to RSO’s on the VSP Registry for old convictions. Also during the 2014 debate of SB442 when I pointed this out to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and to the patron….. the VSP Legislative Liaison approached the podium and agreed with me, that they would in fact apply it retroactively if a start date wasn’t added to the bill.

Action Items for the Proposed "Supplemental" Registries for Pre-1994 Sex Convictions: SB1074, HB1353 and SB934 (so far) AKA Robby’s Rule

Yesterday (the day before the official start of the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session) I visited the GA building for about 3 hours. I scattered more than a 1000 Building a Better Registry Brochures and more than 750 Dissemination of Info Rack Cards across 7 floors. I also stopped by the offices of all the newly elected State Representatives and a few veteran lawmakers to either introduce myself (because they’ve been receiving my email’s for months) or to discuss my concerns about the bills I will be opposing this session. 

As of yesterday afternoon we can add Senator Ryan McDougle (my representative) to the list of Virginia lawmakers attempting to create an on-line public VSP “Supplemental Registry” for pre-1994 convictions with SB1074. Now I’m expecting another one or two versions to post in LIS since it appears to be a popular bandwagon for the 2015 session. 

Senator McDougle doesn’t call his version “Robby’s Rule” like Ramdan’s HB1353 and Wexton’s SB934 . 

I’ll give it to McDougle at least in his version he nailed down a timeframe of convictions from July 1, 1980, and before July 1, 1994  instead of possibly going back to 1970 or even 1960, but other than that one point his bill as the other 2 are a terrible, terrible idea.