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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Action Item: HB628 Patroned by Virginia Delegate Rob Bell (FYI- there are 3 Delegate Bell’s) is on Monday’s Docket for House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee


Update: 

As it comes with the territory, I waited 2.5 hours for the Criminal Sub-Committee to begin and then sat through 3 hours and 40 minutes of Bills for the Chairman to then ask the members at 6:20PM “do we do these last 3 Bill or do we call it an evening” and they all responded “call it” and so I paid $30 for parking, sat in the room for more than 6 hours and HB628 wasn’t heard. I'm used to it!

Knowing the faces in the room, I believe I was the ONLY person who was there waiting to oppose HB628, again. 

This run-around by the House Criminal Sub-Committee is typical, it‘s just a bummer that I gave up my wedding anniversary for what turns out to have been no reason at all. It’s not the first time and I know it won’t be the last time. 

I’ll be back in the Criminal Sub-Committee on Wednesday hoping that HB 628 will be heard (if it’s placed on the docket), but who knows it may get pushed off to Friday but no matter what I’ll be there ready to oppose it because someone has to. 

If you haven’t sent you email's again HB628 yet, please do! 

Thanks!

Mary Devoy
 

Original Post:

The first Action Item against HB628 was on January 19, 2016 now this Bill has been placed on the afternoon docket for Monday February 1st. 

If you have not already taken action on HB628 please do so today! 

This weekend is a working weekend for the Virginia General Assembly who has taken a filed-trip to Williamsburg, VA. They will be reading their emails! 

What does HB628 do? 

Well part one is already done, publicly posting the Employer Information of RSO’s on the Virginia State Police (VSP) Registry. Which leads me to believe this Bill came at the request of the Virginia State Police to intentionally counter SB11, which has passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee with an amendment AND the Full Senate.  

The VSP Registry ALREADY lists the Employer information online so why include it in HB628 as if it’s a new proposal? 

Because when the VSP added the Employer information online back in 2006 or 2007 they did so without ANY Legislative oversight and that's a serious problem!  

This Bill is an attempt to "fix" that SIGNIFICANT overreach that flew under the radar years ago and so Institutes of Higher Education have been included in this Bill so the argument "we already do this" won't kill it in the first Sub-Committee hearing. 

This Bill is a CYA for the VSP. 

Part two of the bill states to publically post the enrollment information to any college or university of an RSO onto the Virginia State Police Registry. As far as I know this would be a new addition AND it would result in most RSO’s who are enrolled in an institute of higher education to have their admission revoked. 

There are 4 important factors affecting recidivism for Former-Offenders released back into our communities. They are…..Education, Housing, Employment and Family support. 
 
This Bill targets two of those!

Facts:
  • Virginia is one of ONLY 6 States that posts ALL Employer information of Registrants on online.
  • 29 States do not post ANY employer information publicly; five of those States are Federal Adam Walsh Act AWA/SORNA compliant
  • 10 States post just the address; eight of those are SORNA compliant
  • 5 States post the city, county and/or zip code; three of those are SORNA compliant 

A few years back both Texas and Kansas removed ALL employer information from public view, the Texas advocacy group actually used Virginia’s 2010 failed bill as their foundation. 

Any Virginia RSO who is enrolled in a college has registered that information with the Virginia State Police, the VSP has confirmed it’s correct and the school knows that student is an RSO. But if it’s put online the school will now be pressured by parents, students and neighbors to get rid of the RSO student.
 

Virginia RSO Galen Baughman Gives TEDx Talk on Virginia SVP Civil Commitment Process and Being an RSO

TEDxCUNY - Galen Baughman: Are We All Sex Offenders?
November 20, 2015
Galen Baughman
Soros Justice Fellow
Human Rights Defense Center
11 Dupont Circle, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 681-8121


Lenore Skenazy: Who is a sex offender? December 17, 2015

Are we all sex offenders? November 26, 2015

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Last 8 Days at the 2016 Virginia General Assembly Session

Back on Thursday January 21st my husband and I spent 2.5 hours at the Virginia General Assembly building. 

On Tuesday January 26th   we spent 3.5 hours there. 

On Wednesday January 27th we spent 13 hours there. 

And today Thursday January 28th we spent 2.5 hours at the Virginia General Assembly building. 

In those 4 days we scheduled and met with 17 Delegates (or their Legislative Assistant) and 3 Senators (or their Legislative Assistant) that’s 14.28% of the Virginia Legislature. 

On Wednesday January 27th there were two simultaneous Senate Committee meetings where one Bill needed to be amended and one bill need to be opposed. 

I’ve posted about the Bill(s) that needed to be opposed here and it’s gotten even worse so there is an action item. 

I’ve posted about the Bill that needed to be amended here and it was amended but it could be undone at any point before it heads to the House so I am continuing to monitor it. 

Mary Devoy

Action Item Against Virginia Senator Dick Blacks SB666 Passed the Senate Transportation Committee Yesterday and is Even Worse Now!

Deny those RSO's Everything!

Yesterday  SB666 passed the Senate Transportation Committee 12-0 even though a few members weren’t in the hearing when the discussion was held on the bill.  

Not only did the Bill pass but it was expanded to include numerous specialty license plates (too many to even provide a complete list of during the Committee) AND to give the DMV discretion to analyze and reject any combination of letters and numbers for an RSO’s vehicle that the DMV believes could have anything to do with children. 

As of today SB666 is on the “uncontested list” (no one voted against it) and it will arrive to the Senate Chamber in a Block Vote where NO discussion or debate will be held and SB666 deserves serious discussion. 

SB666 needs to be removed from the block vote and to do that I need you to contact Senators asking them to debate the merits of this Bill on the floor of the Senate.  

Please Email every Virginia Senator (see below list) TODAY! 

First ask them to remove it from the Block Vote so it can be discussed. 

Second tell them why this Bill should NOT be passed, to vote "Nay"!
 

SB86 Patroned by Virginia Senator Tom Garrett was Amended During Yesterdays Senate Courts of Justice Committee Hearing with a Start Date


Yesterday after a 7+ hour Committee hearing, it was still going on when we left right before 9PM SB86 was FINALLY amended with a start date of July 1, 2016 only because I remained in the room if I had gone home this date was not going to be added by the patron. 

So this is very good news for anyone who was previously convicted of this statute when it was a misdemeanor, if it actually does become a felony this coming July. 

There is a House version of this Bill to0 (HB1317-Delegate Ben Cline) an identical bill in each chamber is called “Companion Bills”. 

Since the Senate inserted the date into SB86, the only way the Senate will accept the House Bill when it reaches the Senate after Cross-Over Day is for it to be conformed identically to how SB86 was at the time of the final Senate vote. This means I probably won’t bother fighting with the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub Committee members who would just refuse to add a start date, it will get added in the Senate down the line. 

BUT….I will keep an eye on SB86 to make sure the date isn’t removed prior to the final vote in the Senate, which is always a possibility. 

Thank you all for sending those email’s and making those phone calls. 

The Senate Courts of Justice knew when I stood to insist on a start date that I hadn’t been the only one making this request, they had been hearing from all of you prior to yesterday. 

Mary

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SB11 Passed the Virginia Senate 22 to 17 Yesterday!


I watched the discussion (and grandstanding) on the Senate chamber floor yesterday for SB11. 

It passed the chamber, but not by much.
YEAS--Alexander, Barker, Dance, Deeds, DeSteph, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Hanger, Howell, Lewis, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, McEachin, McPike, Miller, Norment, Petersen, Saslaw, Surovell, Wexton--22
NAYS--Carrico, Chafin, Chase, Cosgrove, Dunnavant, Garrett, McDougle, Newman, Obenshain, Reeves, Ruff, Stanley, Stuart, Sturtevant, Suetterlein, Vogel, Wagner--17
RULE 36--0
NOT VOTING--Black--1  

Bill Proposes Changes to VA Sex Offender Registry, January 25, 2016

Virginia Senate Approves Eliminating Employer Names from Sex Offender Registry, January 25, 2016

Now it moves on the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee where it has a 99.9% chance of failing. After Cross-Over Day I will post an action item for everyone to contact House members about it but right now it’s too early so hold off. 

Thank you all for sending those emails and making those phone calls.

Mary Devoy

Monday, January 25, 2016

Wash Post’s In Theory: Americans are Bargaining Away their Innocence By Tim Lynch of The Cato Institute


In Theory- Opinion
Americans are bargaining away their innocence, January 20, 2016
By Tim Lynch

Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week we’re talking about the right to a fair trial. Need a primer? Catch up here.
 

The presumption of innocence helps to combat prejudice and prejudging in the U.S. criminal justice system. But because plea bargains have supplanted trials in our criminal justice system, that presumption does not apply to most cases in the United States. 

Prejudice against the accused is quite common. Consider your own experience: If you see that a police car has pulled a driver over to the side of a highway, what do you make of the situation? Most people probably think to themselves, “Hmm, that driver was probably caught speeding.” Similarly, if you heard that one of your neighbors had been arrested, you would likely say to yourself, “I wonder what crime he committed.” It is a common reaction to presume that the authorities had a good reason to detain or arrest someone. 

                [Other perspectives: The presumption of innocence exists in theory, not reality] 

To protect the innocent, however, the law demands that incriminating evidence be presented in court. The Constitution says every person accused of a crime has the right to an impartial jury trial. If the jury is persuaded that a person is guilty, then that person can lose his liberty and be punished. That is a sensible procedure for a just system, and it is why Americans have taken pride in our Bill of Rights. 

Unfortunately, the system that is described by our school teachers and that Americans see on television and in the movies is now defunct. Jury trials are now rare events in the United States. In fact, about 95 percent of the cases moving through the system will not go to trial. The overwhelming majority of cases will be resolved by plea bargains.
 

Restoring Integrity to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry Blog Reaches 140,000 Page Views


Back on August 5th 2015 I posted that this blog had reached 100,000 page views a feat that took 766 days to achieve for an average of 130 views per day. 

Well I’m thrilled to point out to readers today that we’ve reached 140,000 page views, that’s an additional 40,000 hits in just 173 days which works out to be an average of 231 views per day that’s a 77.69% increase in daily views in the last 5.75 months.

I truly appreciate everyone’s interest and involvement in this platform. 

Thank you all for following my advocacy, for taking action against hateful legislation and for staying current on the latest research and reading materials. 

Way too often I wonder…..Why am I still doing this…..does anyone care……is anyone taking action when I ask them to…….and the counter for the page views is my gauge that ya’ll do care. 

For those of you who have stepped out of the shadows in the last year making your voice heard to Virginia and Federal Legislators I am extremely grateful for your courage, strength and involvement. Without your emails and phone calls to lawmakers I most likely would have given up on this venture a few years back. But because I hear directly from Legislators (usually in private) that they are listening not only to me, but to you….. even if they don’t say so in public, that gives me motivation to keep plowing forward, because one day they may finally find their courage to speak out too. 

Now onto 200,000 page views! 

Mary Davye Devoy

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Action Item: Senator Garrett’s SB86 is Scheduled to be Heard by the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee Monday January 25th at 8AM!

RTD Photo by Bob Brown
Update: 

As of 12-noon Sunday the 24th, all Virginia House and Senate morning (7am to 11am) meetings scheduled for Monday January 25th have been cancelled. 

The next pre-set (scheduled) Senate Courts of Justice meeting is in the afternoon of Wednesday January 27th BUT because of last Fridays snow-day and now all Monday morning meetings having been cancelled multiple Committees need to make up lost time and non-typical meeting dates and times could be a way to make up lost time. 

I will be keeping a watchful eye on all schedules and agendas. 
 
Mary 
 
Original Post:

Remember the January 19, 2016 Action Item about a Start Date needing to be Added to Senator Tom Garrett’s SB86. Otherwise it will be applied Retroactively by the Virginia State Police because they will take current Non-Violent RSO’s and retroactively Re-Classify them to Violent making them VSP Registry “Lifers” while denying them Due Process? 

Well SB86 is schedule to be heard by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee on Monday January 25th at 8AM.
 

HB1356 Patroned by Delegate Peter Farrell Adds Fuel to the Hype of “Online Predator Danger” to All Our Children


Remember the article I posted a month and a half ago? 

Well I’m guessing Virginia Delegate Peter Farrell didn’t read it because he has filed HB1356-Impersonation of a minor; use of communications system; penalty. 

Read Full Text or Track Bill Status on Virginia General Assembly Website:

Track Bill Status, Cast Your Vote or Read/Leave Public Comment on Richmond Sunlight Website:

Bill Text as Introduced:
Provides that any person 18 years of age or older who, while falsely representing himself to be a minor, uses a communications system to communicate with any person he knows or has reason to know is a minor is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. 

Now, in its current state this proposal is Virginia's highest grade of misdemeanor and it is NOT a registrerable offense (VSP Sex Offender Registry).  

BUT if it DID becomes law this July 1st…… I bet you in a year or maybe three some Virginia Legislator out there will THEN propose to elevate it to a felony and perhaps even a Registrable offense. IF someone is impersonating a “real person”, taking their name and or photo then I could see that being a crime. But to lie about your age or even give a false name online, are we really going to make that a crime?  

How many Facebook accounts are created for animals and inanimate objects by a person who isn’t identified on that page? Sorry but the lovable Panda Bear at the local zoo isn’t actually posting on Facebook people! 

It’s already a crime in Virginia to solicit a minor online, why is this even needed? 

What about all the minors online who falsely represent their age by increasing it to say they are 18 years old. When they lie and some “poor sap” believes them the minor hasn’t broken the law but the “poor sap” has if he’s discussed sex or exchanged photographs with someone who claimed to be an adult. AND the minors false claim of age isn't an accepted defense for the "poor sap" in Virginia he's going to prison and will be a public Sex Offender for life! 

The number of new crimes that are proposed and even passed every year that are claimed “to protect the children” no matter how they are applied and who they actually sweep up is mind-boggling. But most citizens believe the hype and never question them, it's time to start questioning them Virginia. 

This Bill is 100% unnecessary! 

Mary Devoy

Friday, January 22, 2016

Action Item: 3 Bills Against Virginia Registered Sex Offenders to Revoke Existing License Plates and to Prohibit Ever Owning the Virginia Vanity License Plates to Support the Virginia Family and Children’s Fund


Update:

Look at all the co-patrons that have already signed onto this proposal and it hasn’t even been heard in Sub-Committee yet! -Mary 

Onto HB305-Simon:
 

Original Post:

By the end of next-Monday all Bills for the 2016 Virginia General Assembly session should be posted online as today is the deadline for Legislators to submit their Bills. 

You may remember I first posted about this type of Legislation back on December 30, 2015. 

As of today we have:
A set of Companion Bills to ban just the Kid's First Style License Plate
1. In the House of Delegates Delegate Marcus Simon with HB305
2. In the Senate Senator Dick Black with SB666 

A House Bill to ban ALL 4 Styles of Virginia Family and Children Fund Plates
3. Delegate Tag Greason with HB1190

  1. HB305 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee but will first go to Sub-Committee #2 which meets on Mondays at 4PM.
  2. As of the writing of this post HB1190 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee but not to a Sub-Committee.
  3. SB666 has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee which meets on Wednesdays ½ hour after adjournment.
I spoke to one patron on the phone 2 weeks ago about his Bill and he confirmed that Rob Buswell (of last years “Robby’s Rule”) asked for this Bill because his abuser currently has this license plate. 

I understand Rob Buswell's anger but these Bills have nothing to do with public safety. As with Robby's Rule, Mr. Buswell is using Virginia Legislators as his personal foot-soldiers against his abuser in his continuing unhealthy obsession to destroy, manage and control him.  

Virginia Legislators should never propose laws that are based on a personal vendetta and that's exactly what these 3 Bills are.  

I’d actually go as far to say it seems like Mr. Buswell is stalking his abuser to use whatever he can as a reason to propose a new law against him. Mr. Buswell obviously has not healed; forgiven or been able to move on with a happy or productive life since his abuser was convicted, was added to the regular VSP Registry and then added to the Supplemental VSP Registry. Nothing it seems will ever be enough of a punishment or restriction for the man who abused Mr. Buswell and so I have to fight against vengeful legislation directed at one individual but would be applied to tens of thousands. Some may say this makes me anti-victim or even pro-offender but in reality I’m trying to make sure Virginia laws are based on facts, statistics and proven process as opposed to the current cycle of eternal government-sponsored punishment based on hate and vengeance being applied decades after a court has handed down a sentence.  

I am NOT Anti-Victim and I am NOT Pro-Offender and every Virginia Legislator knows that and anyone who makes such a claim is making a false statement.

So as an advocate who arms themselves with facts, I filed a FOIA with the Virginia DMV a while ago and now I know exactly how many of these license plates are in circulation, how many are owned by RSO’s and of those how many are co-owned (by a spouse, a parent or a teenage child) and I will use this data in my opposition statement against  all three of these Bills when they are heard by their respective Sub-Committee or Committee. 
 

50 States Per Capita Registered Sex Offender (RSO) Population as of December 2015


Yesterday during one of our scheduled sit-down meetings with Virginia Delegate's one of them asked us for the “per capita” state count when we shared the Last 8 Years of Growth of VSP Registry Handout. 

So when we returned home we worked up the per-capita numbers for all 50 States (and US Territories) to send the Delegate. 

Virginia worked out to be pretty much exactly where we expected (in the middle) but we were surprised to see the #1 spot being Oregon and that California falls below Virginia. 

After looking at it for the last 16 hours I’ve decided to post it (see below) so those readers from other States that I’ve heard from in the past can see where their State lands in the line-up. 

Mary
 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

IMMEDIATE Action Item: Oppose HB628 Patroned by Delegate Rob Bell….It Will be Heard in House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee Wednesday January 20th


Update: 

Around 4:30 PM on 01/19/16 the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee Agenda for 01/20/16 was edited and HB628 was removed. 

I went ahead and attended today’s hearing anyways because two years ago in this same Sub-Committee at the beginning of a meeting it was vocally announced a specific bill on that days agenda would NOT be heard that day after all, so I left for home. Then later during that meeting Chairman Bell (of the Criminal Sub-Committee) decided to place it back on the agenda so I missed the one chance to speak against that bill that year. After that I lost all faith in the House Criminal Sub-Committee agendas and any announcements made to the room. If a bill I’m tracking is on one version of their agenda, I’m showing up. I might be wasting my time and parking money but better safe than sorry. 

I was promised by Legislative Services Mr. Cotter during a 5 minute break after all the "Drone" Bills were heard at today’s meeting that HB628 would NOT be heard today, so I headed back home. 

The next Criminal Sub-Committee meeting will be Friday afternoon, I expect at least one House “Sex Offender” bill to be on the agenda but we’ll have to wait and see. 
 
I hope to post about a few Bills tomorrow after I've meet with some Legislators that I have scheduled appointment with....... so stay tuned!

Mary


Original Post:


What does HB628 do? 

Well part one is already done, publicly posting the Employer Information of RSO’s on the Virginia State Police Registry. Which leads me to believe this Bill came at the request of the Virginia State Police to counter SB11, that passed the Senate Courts of Justice just yesterday with an amendment.  

The VSP Registry ALREADY lists the Employer information online so why include it in HB628 as if it’s a new proposal? 

Because when the VSP added the Employer information online back in 2006 or 2007 they did so without ANY Legislative oversight and that's a serious problem!  

This Bill is an attempt to "fix" that SIGNIFICANT overreach that flew under the radar years ago and so Institutes of Higher Education have been included in this Bill so the argument "we already do this" won't kill it in the first Sub-Committee hearing. 

This Bill is a CYA for the VSP. 
 

Delegate Chris Peace’s Bill HB672 AKA Eli’s Law Expands the List of Crimes for Placement on the VSP Sex Offender Registry


So I’ll start with the good news, HB672 has a start date of July 1, 2016………probably not because the Delegate doesn’t want to violate ex post facto or deny people due process but because up until now the State hasn’t been tracking the age of the victim, if they are 13 or younger.

This means any adult previously convicted of Malicious Wounding or Aggravated Wounding of a 13 year old or younger will not be swept up if this becomes law unlike what the WTVR story lead viewers to believe Mother of assaulted Hanover baby works to put violent felons on registry, January 8, 2016 http://wtvr.com/2016/01/08/mother-of-assaulted-baby-violent-felons-on-registry/ . Unless of course Delegate Peace decides to remove the start date, so I will be keeping a close eye on that. 

But this proposal expands the list of crimes for registration as a Sex Offender in Virginia. Yes the Virginia State Police Registry is called The Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry but the connotation of being an RSO is that everyone who is posted is a pedophile, a pervert, a rapist and/or a predator. 

If you read the Virginia definition of malicious wounding it’s problematic. 

In fact Delegate Dave Albo has this posted on his law website:

 


So malicious wounding is basically assault and battery, it doesn’t require a weapon and if there is a level of blood lost, it qualifies.
 
I checked some other Virginia Attorney sites and a broken bone would also qualify as malicious wounding. 

So an argument between a 13 year old and an 18 year old sibling that results in blood loss or a broken bone could land the 18 year old brother or sister on the Virginia Sex Offender Registry making college admission near impossible, securing housing and steady employment an eternal cycle of denials, evictions and terminations. 
 

Action Item: A Start Date MUST be Added to Senator Tom Garrett’s SB86, Otherwise it Will be Applied Retroactively by the Virginia State Police Taking Current Non-Violent RSO’s and Retroactively Re-Classifying Them to Violent Making Them VSP Registry “Lifers” While Denying Them Due Process


SB86 is the third attempt for Senator Garrett to increase 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. 

Back in 2015 it was SB1138 and in 2014 it was SB442  both died in the Appropriations Committee due to its high cost.  But supposedly for the upcoming 2016 session there is plenty of money available so I’m thinking this time the proposal has a very good chance at passing through the Legislature. 

Personally, I do not oppose the increase in penalty for this crime by an adult against a child I didn’t oppose it in 2014 or 2015 and I’m not going to oppose it this year. 

BUT………….there is a VERY serious problem with SB86 that needs immediate attention. 

2016’s SB86 does NOT  include an “effective date” of July 1, 2016; 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 by the Virginia State Police. 

Anyone convicted of this crime since it’s inception in 2007 through until June 30 2016 who was originally classified as Non-Violent Sex Offender will be elevated to a Violent Sex Offender, without ANY due process.  

I raised this issue back in 2014 and it was ignored by the patron. 

I again raised it in 2015 and at first the patron and the Committee members tried to say my concern was unwarranted but then when I provided facts and real examples they reluctantly added a start date. 

And more recently I raised it with the Virginia Legislators and the Administration after a sit down meeting with VSP Lt. Col. Kemmler (who retired in January 2016) confirmed to me that yes, indeed if the Legislature does NOT add a start date to Legislation directed towards Registered Sex Offenders the VSP will apply it retroactively. 

And yet Senator Garrett filed the exact same verbiage for the upcoming 2016 session that he filed in 2014 and 2015 ignoring this issue all over again! 

How many Non-Violent Offenders would this retroactive mandate capture if passed into law as-is?