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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It Will Cost $50,000+ to File an Injunction Against Virginia:SB666/HB1190/HB305 from Becoming Law on July 1st and Since it only Affects 14 RSO's (+8 Co-Owners) in the Entire State I’ve Decided to Wait to Challenge a Law That Affects Many More People


As most followers/readers know since the 2016 Virginia General Assembly came to a close in early March I’ve been looking at the possibility of filing an injunction to stop SB666/HB1190 (HB305 was rolled into HB1190) from becoming law on July 1st. 

Here are some past posts since the 2016 GA ended about this endeavor and what SB666/HB1190 will do April 26, 2016, April 23, 2016, March 25, 2016, March 24, 2016 and March 20, 2016 . 

I spent $4,296.90 in legal research over the last 2 months with a firm in Alexandria, VA looking into what viable options I had for a court-challenge. In those 2 months I received $1,385.00 in contributions from followers/readers but then I refunded $50 to one disgruntled donor, so in the end you all helped cover 31% and I came up with $2,961.90 (69%) for the investigative work. I am so appreciative to those who sent a contribution, thank you! 
 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Two Myths: Sex Offenders Have a High Recidivism Rate AND Sex Crimes are So Under-Reported Any Attempt to Gather Accurate Recidivism Rates is Impossible


What’s the Real Rate of Sex-Crime Recidivism? May 28, 2016
One sentence in a 1986 mass-market magazine continues to sway court cases involving sex offenders.
By Steven Yoder

In the early 1980s, rehabilitation counselor Robert Longo could hardly have known that his work with convicted sex offenders would make him a minor celebrity. At the time, he was running a program at the Oregon State Hospital to treat and rehabilitate prisoners who had committed sex crimes. It was a new field, and Longo says they were using what at the time were considered innovative approaches: aversive conditioning, administration of Depo-Provera to reduce testosterone levels, and penile plethysmography to measure arousal. 

In 1985, documentary filmmaker John Zaritsky heard about Longo’s work and gave him a call. Oregon’s program was featured prominently in the resulting HBO special, Rapists: Can They Be Stopped? While the film was being shot, word got around about Longo’s methods, which were seen as a potential solution to ending rape. He started getting invitations to appear on Oprahhe was on five times in all, he remembersand now he was being quoted in the New York Times and national magazines. 
 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Can RSO’s Legally Attend Church in Virginia? The Virginia Attorney General’s Office Has Refused/Declined to Answer The Question Even Though They are The Legal Advisor of Virginia’s Laws


Remember the AG Opinion submitted last August to determine if Virginia’s 22,500+ Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) can OR can not attend church if there is a daycare and/or school on the property? 

The two Virginia statutes in question in this matter are:
§ 18.2-370.5. - Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school or other property
§ 18.2-370.2. - Sex offenses prohibiting proximity to children on School and Daycare Property 

Well I learned late yesterday that the Virginia Attorney General’s Office has declined/ignored the AG Opinion submission…….an option that they are allowed to do AND they don’t have to put their reason for denying/ignoring it in writing.  
 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

For Some Prisoners, Finishing Their Sentences Doesn’t Mean They Get Out: The Special Problem of Being a Sex Offender By Christie Thompson


For Some Prisoners, Finishing Their Sentences Doesn’t Mean They Get Out
The special problem of being a sex offender.
By Christie Thompson

After serving a year and two months for a probation violation, Landreaux Yantz should have been able to walk out of a New York state prison on June 26, 2015. But officials would not let him leave. 

“When I laid in my bed every night I was thinking, ‘I’m free. Why the hell am I still here?’” 

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23 2016: The US Senate will Consider/Vote-on S2613 The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016


Update: 

Senate Passes Grassley’s Bill to Track Sex Offenders, Protect Rights of Victims, May 24, 2016
https://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2016/05/senate-passes-adam-walsh-reauthorization-chuck-grassley/

Senate passes reauthorization unanimously, May 23, 2016

Original Post: 

Today the US Senate will consider/vote-on S2613 (Grassley –R Iowa) The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2016. 

What does the AWA Reauthorization Bill do? Well you can read the full amended (April 14th) text here

At a quick glance S2613:
  1. It allocates $20,000,000 to the US Attorney General for 2017 and again in 2018.
  2. It allocates $61,300,000 to the US Marshal’s Service for 2017 and again in 2018.
  3. It adds a Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights section to the Act that covers Rape Kit collection, retention and DNA notification. It also redefinesSexual Assault”.
  4. It amends The Victims of Crime Act of 1984 by adding grants for Sexual Assault Survivors.
  5. It directs the US Attorney General to form a Joint Workgroup along with the US Secretary of Health and Human Services that will develop, coordinate, and disseminate best practices regarding the care and treatment of sexual assault survivors and the preservation of forensic evidence. Within 2 years a report is due from this Workgroup.
  6. It also increases the civil remedy time-line for survivors of child sexual exploitation and human trafficking from 3 to 10 years.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Action Item: Abolish Residency Restrictions for RSO’s in Virginia!


Residency Restrictions for Registered Sex Offenders have been widely proven to be not only useless but dangerous to communities. 

Virginia does have Residency Restrictions § 18.2-370.3. for “a limited group” of Registered Sex Offenders. 

Who is included in the Virginia “limited group” of our Residency Restriction Statute?  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

If You Risk Nothing, You Gain Nothing


Update: 
April 13, 2016 -      Goal #22                            Hate Crime                                      
May 20, 2016      Goal #7                               Residency Restrictions                             
June 3, 2016 -        Goal #9                               Teen Sexting                                   
June 7, 2016       Goal/Question #17         RSO’s Right to Worship
June 14, 2016 –     Goal #11                             21-Day Rule /#16  Add Sexual Misdemeanors to Writs                                                  
June 29, 2016 –     Goal #8                               Automatically Remove Non-Violent RSO’s from VSP Registry on 15 year Anniversary 
July 28, 2016 –      Goal #12                             Rotating Re-Registration System based on DOB
August 10, 2016 Goal #4                              Scrap 2-Level Conviction-Based Classification System for a 3 or 4 Level Risk-Based System / Goal #14 Remove the Misdemeanor Offenses and Juveniles from the Public Virginia Sex Offender Registry
October 7, 2016      Goal #3                               3 day/30 Minute Statute verbiage needs to be Amended
October 7, 2016      Goal #                              Remove Employer Info from VSP Registry
 
 
Original Post:

I receive email’s almost everyday from RSO’s or their loved ones asking me to help them; many times they believe I’m an attorney (I’m not). 

So what do I do as a volunteer advocate working toward data-driven reform of the Virginia Sex Offender Registry since October 2008, what are my goals? 

Well I do a lot and it’s always evolving but I have a few set goals that cover much of my time so I’m going to share them here for those of you who wonder what I do. 

My first goal has always been to oppose harsher restrictions and regulations that are completely baseless. Playing defense on a platform that far too many of our elected officials exploit to build their own resume. Every year at the General Assembly in Richmond, VA http://goo.gl/FqheXv I face an on-slot of punitive and questionably Unconstitutional measures and almost every year I am the only one to stand up in Sub-Committee or Full-Committee to question if there is even a need for the Bill and then to question the legitimacy of it by proving data a research in opposition. 

My second goal soon became to keep Virginia’s RSO’s updated on what their legal obligations as an RSO were http://goo.gl/5UzoNQ  , if a Virginia statute is unclear or overly broad to get clarification from the Administration http://goo.gl/51E8aZ and if new proposals were working their way through the Virginia Legislature to get RSO’s and their loved ones involved in the process by contacting their District’s Delegate and Senator.
 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Community Plays a Role in Helping Ex-Prisoners (Registered Sex Offenders), Instead of Shunning Them and the Results are Extremely Positive


What a great article (see below), what a great program in Vermont! 

Vermont offers support, guidance, accountability and empathy to its Registered Sex Offenders. 

Whereas in Virginia we continue to expand the restrictions, regulations and barriers which not only isolates our RSO’s but leads to arbitrary violations costing the State more money and time…. and for the RSO…. a new conviction. 

Vermont’s system is preventing future crimes while assisting the RSO’s to become contributing members of society. 

Virginia’s system has nothing to do with assisting our RSO’s in becoming contributing members of society…it labels, restricts and regulates our RSO’s……… period. 

That’s the difference between a system based on hope, success and proven process compared to a system based on punishment, anger and vengeance.  

It’s not being “Soft on Sexual Predators” its being smart in reducing crime and recidivism rates.  

Why can’t Virginia see that? 

Mary Devoy 

 

Community plays a role in helping ex-prisoners, May 15, 2016
By Gina Barton

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Whenever Travis Papineau's parents left town, things went wrong. He logged onto the internet and did things he shouldn't. He got drunk, then got behind the wheel. He acted like a delinquent teenager, even though he was a grown man. 

He always ended up back behind bars. 

A registered sex offender, Papineau had been in and out of prison for years. But this time, he had a plan.

And he had friends: Community volunteers he'd been meeting with every week for three months, since he'd last walked out of a cell in January 2015.
 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Studies, Laws and Programs Have All Proven Residency Restrictions for RSO’s Make Society LESS Safe and Yet Legislators Keep Proposing and Expanding Them


Update: 

See May 20th Post http://goo.gl/re29t3
 

Original Post:

Despite providing the Virginia Delegates and Senators stacks of research and data against Residency Restrictions over  the last 8 years (that I’ve been an advocate) I’ve still been forced to oppose Legislation/Bills proposing expansion of  § 18.2-370.3. Virginia’s Residency Restrictions. 

Ø       2010- HB1004       Del. Athey (retired, now a Judge), Del. Albo, Sen. Vogel
Ø       2011- HB1123         Del. Oder (retired)
Ø       2015- HB1505        Del. Albo 

The below article pretty much sums up every point I’ve made to the Virginia Legislators. I’m sure some lawmaker will propose another Bill to expand in the future and I’ll have to provide them with all the facts all over again.

It’s a real shame that fear-monger, myths, hate and vengeance are how our elected officials chose to address ALL things “Sex Offender”. 

Mary Devoy 
 

Despite Concerns, Sex Offenders Face New Restrictions, May 6, 2016

Once out of prison, few places for sex offenders to live, May 14, 2016

By Jen Fifield

Action Item: 9 months is TOO Long for a Virginia Attorney General Opinion to Go Unanswered, it’s Time to Reform the AG Opinion Process

VA Attorney General
Mark Herring

Three weeks ago I posted about my unanswered Virginia Attorney General Opinion from August 2015 here. 

In early April Delegate Dave LaRock filed suit against the VA A.G. to get an answer to his ignored September 2015 AG Opinion submission, approximately one month later he got his answer.

AG Herring Issues Advisory Opinion to Avoid LaRock Lawsuit, May 10, 2016
 
I’ve been waiting for an AG Opinion since last August. 

What is the Attorney General Opinion submitted by a Virginia Senator for me? It was to answer this simple question:

Can Registered Sex Offenders attend church if there is a daycare and/or school on the property? 

The two Virginia statutes in question in this matter are:
§ 18.2-370.5. - Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school or other property
§ 18.2-370.2. - Sex offenses prohibiting proximity to children on School and Daycare Property 

For years the Virginia State Police who is the official manager and monitor of our RSO’s won’t give me an answer to this question including as recently as September 2015. 
 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Virginia State Police, Virginia Delegates and Senators and the Virginia Governor and Secretary of Public Safety All Know that VSP Re-Registration Letters Aren’t Being Delivered and Yet They Do Nothing to Fix the Problem and Virginia RSO’s are Being Convicted of Failures-to-Register



Dear Virginia Delegates and Senators, 

For 8 years I've made you aware of the Virginia State Police certified re-registration letters not arriving at all, arriving with less than a day to comply or arriving too late....... in fact my latest email about these problems was sent to you on 04/23/16 (it’s below). 

I've also advised you (many times) that the VSP REMOVED the next re-registration due date for our RSO's from the VSP website years ago for no reason making it impossible for our RSO's to know when to expect their next letter. 

And last autumn (I learned) the VSP stopped giving our RSO's a copy of the completed re-registration form when they go to a VSP Barracks, so they no longer have a receipt to prove they re-registered on time. 

You know these issues exist, the VSP knows these issues exist and yet those who have the ability to fix these problems have failed to take ANY action. 

And now today, this......
No Excuse for Late Sex Offender Reregistration, May 4, 2016 By Deborah Elkins http://valawyersweekly.com/2016/05/04/no-excuse-for-late-sex-offender-reregistration/
Although defendant had reregistered as a sex offender every 90 days for the last 15 years, and testified that he was late two weeks in reregistering because he had not received his letter for reregistration from the Virginia State Police, the Court of Ap­peals affirms his conviction for knowingly failing to timely reregister. While Va. ... 
 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

What Laws Will Change for Virginia’s Registered Sex Offenders on July 1, 2016?



Are you looking for What Changed in 2017?

Original Post:

The 2016 Virginia General Assembly Session began on Wednesday January 13th 2016 and it adjourned on Friday March 11th 2016. 

This morning I finally I finalized the 2016 General Assembly Legislation page so that all the details on what Bills failed and what Bills passed are in one location. That page will remain up until November and then it will be replaced with a new 2017 GA Legislation page in anticipation of the next GA session. 

As for the 2016 General Assembly Committee page I will probably delete that in the next month or so...then in December or January a new 2017 Committee list will appear. 

I posted back on April 4th how many RSO Bills were filed during the entire 2016 VA session. 

So now that’s all over…………. what new laws begin on July 1, 2016 that will affect Virginias current Registered Sex Offenders? Is there anything significant that you need to know about or to avoid or are now required to do?  No, there isn’t. 

Changes that will occur on July 1st: