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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Action Item: SB1374 Excuses EVERY Virginia Department from Ever Advising Our RSO’s of Their Legal Restrictions and Regulations That Change Every Year, Retroactively……and the RSO’s Will Still be Charged With a Felony

 
A new Bill just posted that everyone needs to send an immediate email or make a phone call against, it affects every current RSO and every future RSO. 

It is patroned by Senator David W. Marsden , SB1374 

Bill Summary:
Provides that a defendant cannot raise as a defense to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender the fact that he did not receive information outlining registration duties and procedures from a state entity. 

Bill Text:
L. Failure of the defendant to receive any instructional or informational publication or guidance document developed or published by a governmental entity for the purpose of assisting persons required to register with registration or other requirements or prohibitions shall not constitute a defense to any criminal charge or  to a violation of any other requirement or prohibition imposed upon a person for whom registration is required, nor shall any civil liability attach to a governmental entity involved in the development or publication of any such document. 

The State has already excused the Virginia State Police for giving out-dated information to our RSO’s  with this current statute http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+9.1-917  

SB1374 would excuse ANY Virginia Department
  • The Commonwealth’s Attorney
  • The Department of Corrections
  • The Office of the Attorney General
  • The Virginia State Police
  • …..etc
from advising a newly convicted Virginian who must register as a Sex Offender that they must even go and register within 3 days (not 3 business days) of the conviction or when they are released from prison or jail. 

I can tell all of you from experience, the Commonwealths’ Attorney, your defense attorney and the Judge don’t advise a defendant what they can or can’t do when they are convicted of a Registrable Offense.  
 

Action Item: HB1366 Passed out of House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee and Moves onto the Full Courts of Justice

Update: 

ACLU questions new sex offender bill, January 20, 2015

Original Post:

Late yesterday afternoon the Virginia House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee passed Delegate Campbell’s HB1366 onto the Full Courts of Justice Committee. 

I was the only opponent (as usual) against this terrible proposal, the Virginia School Board Representative stood in favor of the proposal and not one Commonwealth’s Attorney (and there were plenty in the room) stood up to question the bill.  

There were also no reporters in the room during the discussion but afterwards NBC12 located Claire from the ACLU of Virginia and she gave a great response to the proposal. VIRGINIA ACLU: New sex offender bill 'invitation to throw stones’, January 19, 2015 http://www.nbc12.com/story/27887584/virginia-aclu-new-sex-offender-bill-invitation-to-throw-stones 

How many petitions are filed by parents every year in Virginia? 

How many of those are granted or are denied? 

I believe this data is extremely important to know because if this bill becomes law, the denial rate by Judges will skyrocket due to the public pressure and that should not be a goal of this bill but it will be a result, intended or not.

The bill now goes onto the Full House Courts of Justice Committee most likely to be heard this Wednesday (tomorrow) or this Friday. 

Below is the statement that I made against the HB1366 yesterday and here are past posts on the HB1366.
I hope everyone will take points from the older posts or the below statement and Email or call your one Virginia Delegate and if you are feeling industrious every member of the House Courts of Justice Committee (see list below) TODAY and ask them to vote “No” on HB1366! 

Action Item: SB1074 Robby's Rule Passed out of Courts of Justice and onto Senate Finance Committee Yesterday Morning

 
The two Virginia Senate versions of Robby’s Rule were rolled together and passed out of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee yesterday morning. Bill: Add to Virginia's sex offender registry, January 19, 2015
http://www.dailypress.com/news/politics/dp-bill-add-to-virginias-sex-offender-registry-20150119-story.html

Senator McDougle told the Committee that SB1074 is not the expensive version of Robby’s Rule that was proposed last year so this year’s version(s) will NOT have the posted information confirmed by the Virginia State Police but yet it would be listed by the VSP for the public to view. Senator McDougle pointed out that the bill is “fairly limited” that this Supplemental Registry “will be a central depository of old court records from across the state and put it in one place”. 
 
A bill with almost no fiscal impact that will hurt innocent Virginians isn’t worth the savings of the earlier version that had a cost of $1.69 million but would have been verified by the VSP as accurate.  

While I was  making an example of mis-identifications by the public from old, unverified information being listed on this public Supplemental Registry (my full statement to the Committee is below) Co-Chair and acting Chairman Obenshain stopped me and said, “I would caution you for personalizing this, it undermines the effectiveness of your statement” Then another Committee member said, “what if a reporter walks into the room and they hear Senator Norment (I never said Senator Norment, I said “the mis-identified Mr. Norment” and “a Thomas Norment”) is convicted of a sex crime. So I agreed to insert my name for the rest of the statement if it made the Committee members more comfortable. 

Senator Obenshain and I think it was Senator Edwards actually supported what my argument against Robby’s Rule is, but they didn't see that. That people will hear about or read a name on the VSP Supplemental Registry with no picture, no address, no other identifying information and an innocent person with the same name would be smeared as a “Sex Offender”. 

This was exactly my point…. A name is not enough to go and incorrect assumptions will be made by the public but the members of the Committee were too busy being concerned with telling me to stop using the example of “the misidentified Mr. Norment” to absorb the irony of their outrage I was smearing an innocent Senator. 

Rob Buswell (of Robby’s Rule) doesn’t care that old and confusing information will be placed on a VSP list of “Sex offenders, his goal is to get his abusers pre-1994 conviction listed on line and a bill with his name passed into law, if that means no fiscal impact of $1.69 million and unverified information of people who may have died or moved out of state he’s fine with that. He has one goal and he wants it no matter what the human cost is, this is what happens when Legislators propose bills for citizens who have an axe-to-grind. The collateral damage that will occur if either the Senate or the House version HB1353 of Robby’s Rule becomes law in Virginia is incalculable. 

Why doesn’t Mr. Buswell ask for any pre-1994 convictions of people who are already listed on the Regular VSP Sex Offender Registry to be added to their existing post?

  1. I would not oppose such a proposal.
  2. No innocent Virginians who share a similar name with someone convicted 3 decades ago will be confused or misidentified.
  3. And no one that has remained crime free for more than 20 years would be retroactively added to a VSP Sex Offender list, denying them due process and up-ending the successful re-entry that they made decades ago?

To understand what the hul·la·ba·loo in yesterdays’ Committee was about and to read the valid concerns about this proposal below is my statement against SB1074 (and SB934 that was rolled into it).