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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Another VSP FOIA Denied: Has Virginia EVER Told its Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) When New Restrictions and Regulations Become Law Other than They Were Retroactively Re-Classified?


As most readers know I have previously posted (http://goo.gl/kOo7oN , http://goo.gl/wQemdG  ) that Virginia fails to notify its Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) of new laws and even current laws (the Do’s and Don’ts) that they are required to abide by even though other states do in fact advise their RSO's of their legal obligations. 

I have heard from many of you over the years that when the law changed about dropping off and picking up your child from school (on school property) that you were not notified of the new prohibition that applied to you AND that it became a felony.

I know for a fact that back in 2011 when HB2066 (Bell) and SB1185 (Norment) § 18.2-370.5. Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school property; penalty became law on July 1, 2011 banning most (Violent) Registered Sex Offenders from stepping one foot onto a school bus or from attending any school-sponsored activity on non-school grounds even if they child is a student that no RSO’s were notified by the Virginia State Police (VSP) of this change in their legal requirement.  

So I wondered if the VSP has EVER notified (before I became an advocate in late-2008) non-incarcerated RSO’s of new legal restrictions, regulations or requirements. Other than those Offenders who were retroactive re-classification via legislation in 2006 and 2008 from Non-Violent to Violent, they were notified only because their VSP re-registrations were increased from once per year to 4 times per year and they became “lifers” with no opportunity to ever petition for removal from the VSP Registry. 

How could I get an official answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ have any other VSP notices ever been sent out when Virginia law changed for our RSO’s?  

Well a Freedom of Information Act request would tell me, but almost every FOIA I’ve ever submitted to the VSP over the last 7 years has been denied (http://goo.gl/CVXNpY , http://goo.gl/06LxnL) even if the very same request was granted to Virginia Professors doing research or National Child Advocate groups. 

So I decided why not try a new FOIA, maybe this time I wouldn’t be denied after this request has NOTHING to do with offender’s information, which is supposed to be the reason for a FOIA denial per the allowed exemption.

The Supreme Court’s Crucial Mistake About Sex Crime Statistics, a Commonly-Cited Statistic About Sex Offender Re-offense Rates is Wrong By Ira Ellman


The Supreme Court’s Crucial Mistake About Sex Crime Statistics, July 28, 2015
A commonly-cited statistic about sex offender re-offense rates is wrong.
By Ira Ellman

Proponents of criminal justice reform never talk about sex offenders. They’re political untouchables subject to lifelong restrictions that continue long past their confinement, restrictions justified as necessary to protect the public from their propensity to re-offend. Two Supreme Court decisions established that justification. But they rely on a scientific study that doesn’t exist.  

"Frightening and High" 

McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 33 (2002) rejected, 5-4, Robert Lile’s claim that Kansas violated his 5th Amendment rights by punishing him for refusing to complete a form detailing prior sexual activities that might constitute an uncharged  criminal offense for which he could then be prosecuted. The form was required for participants in a prison therapy program; refusing to join the program meant permanent transfer to a higher security unit where he would live among the most dangerous inmates and lose significant privileges, including the right to earn the minimum wage for his prison work and send his earnings to his family. Justice Kennedy explained the treatment program helped identify the traits that caused “such a frightening and high risk of recidivism” among sex offenders—a rate he said “has been estimated to be as high as 80%.”   The following year in Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003) the Court upheld Alaska’s application, to those convicted before its enactment, of a law identifying all sex offenders on a public registry. It reasoned that the ex post facto clause was not violated because registration is not punishment, but merely a civil measure justified because the “risk of recidivism posed by sex offenders” is “frightening and high”, 536 U. S. at 34. 

The idea that sex offenders repeat their crimes at high rates has fed legislation imposing increasingly harsh post-release burdens on them, nearly all triggered by being on a sex offender registry. Registrants may face residency restrictions sometimes severe enough to exclude them from entire cities and prevent them from living with their families, “presence restrictions” barring them from using public libraries or parks with their families, formal exclusion from many jobs, and informal exclusion from many more. The registration requirement typically extends for decades, and in some states, such as California, for life, with no path off the registry for most registrants. Courts have usually turned back challenges to registration and the consequences that flow from it; a Lexis search finds that in 91 cases the court’s opinion quotes Justice Kennedy’s dramatic statement that the sex offender recidivism rate is “frightening and high”. But is it? Do those convicted of sex offenses really re-offend 80% of the time, or anything close to that?