Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Action Item: Remove the Misdemeanor Offenses and Juveniles from the Public Virginia Sex Offender Registry AND Scrap Our 2-Level Conviction-Based Classification System for a 3 or 4 Level Risk-Based System

#4 and #14 of my 28 Legislative Fixes (or Goals) have now been rolled together under Goal #4 part one and part two. 

Officially Goal #8 (Legislative Fixes) could/should also be rolled into #4 too, but at this time I’m leaving it separate.

Virginia Legislative Goal #4

Part 1) Virginia Needs a 3 or 4 Tier/Level Risk-Based Classification System for our Registered Sex Offenders. 

Virginia currently has a meaningless 2-Tiered Conviction-Based Classification System, Non-Violent or Violent. 

A Risk-Based classification system would identify those who pose a real threat to society instead of classifying them on a conviction which was mostly likely downgraded with a plea agreement (more than 94% of criminal convictions in Virginia are settled with a plea deal). So today a real-threat could be currently classified as Non-Violent because they pled to a misdemeanor instead of the original felony they were facing but a mental review of the same offender could conclude they are in fact a high-risk to reoffend. 

A Risk-Based classification system would take some time and money initially but in the long run it would save the Commonwealth millions of dollars because everyone would not be treated the same, more resources would be directed toward the higher risks whereas today they do not receive heightened monitoring. Other States have made the switch, so it can be done. 

3 Tiers/Levels would assist the public in deciphering between the Offenders, today they really can’t. 

Proposed System:
·         Tier/Level 1 would be the lowest risk to reoffend and could automatically be removed after 10 years of compliance
·         Tier/Level 2 would be a moderate risk to reoffend and could petition for removal after 15 or 20 years of compliance
·         Tier/Level 3 would be the highest risk to reoffend and would be registered for life 

A few states have 4-8 Tiers/Levels; this could be a possibility for Virginia too AND some States classify those who are and were civilly committed as Sexually Violent Predators (SVP’s) on their Registry. Today Virginia does not note who was previously civilly committed as an SVP, I think we should. 

Virginia civilly commits our SVP’s based on risk, but yet we classify our RSO’s on their conviction we should be consistent and base everything on risk. 

It’s Time to implement a 3-Level/Tier (or more) Risk-Based Classification in Virginia! 

Part 2) Remove the Misdemeanor Offenses AND Juveniles from the Public Sex Offender Registry. 

Many states do not require misdemeanors to even register and other states have a private registry for misdemeanors that is only accessible by law enforcement. A misdemeanor is not supposed to follow someone for life, but with a public registry it does. Inclusion of all offenses overburdens the system and dilutes the registry to a point where society cannot differentiate between plausible threat and a non threat. 

The Federal Adam Walsh Act/SORNA does NOT require public registration for misdemeanor offenses nor do they require public registration for   juveniles.
No Registration for Juveniles:
  1. Alaska
  2. Connecticut
  3. Hawaii
  4. Nebraska
  5. West Virginia
  6. District of Columbia
State that have Private (Authorities Only) Registries:
  1. Arizona                                 for Tier/Level 1 AND some Juveniles
  2. Arkansas                              for some Juveniles
  3. Colorado*                     for Juveniles
  4. Delaware*                    for Tier/Level 1
  5. Idaho                            for Juveniles
  6. Illinois                          for Juveniles
  7. Maryland*                    for Juveniles
  8. Massachusetts               for Tier/Level 1 AND 2’s AND some Juveniles
  9. Michigan*                    for Juveniles
  10. Minnesota                     for Tier/Level 1 AND 2’s AND Juveniles
  11. Nevada*                          for Tier/Level 0 AND 1’s
  12. New Hampshire             for Tier/Level 1 AND Juveniles
  13. New Jersey                    for Tier/Level 1 AND some 2’s AND some Juveniles
  14. New York                      for Tier/Level 1 AND Juveniles
  15. North Carolina               for Juveniles
  16. Oklahoma                      for Juveniles
  17. Pennsylvania*              for Juveniles
  18. Rhode Island                for Tier/Level 1 AND Juveniles
  19. Tennessee*                  for Juveniles
  20. Vermont                              for Juveniles until age of 18 then placed on Internet
  21. Wisconsin                      for Tier/Level 1 AND 2’s AND Juveniles
  22. Wyoming*                    for Juveniles 

State has Automatic Removal from Registry for Juveniles:
  1. New Hampshire             at age 17
  2. Idaho                                at age 21
  3. Maryland*                      at age 21
  4. Missouri                    at age 21               (for some)
  5. Oklahoma                       at age 21
  6. Arizona                            at age 25
  7. Texas                                at 10th year OR end of jurisdiction which ever comes first 

State requires Court Petition for Removal from Registry for Juveniles:
  1. North Carolina                at age 18 years
  2. Arkansas                           age 21 or at 10 years
  3. Oregon                              at 2 years
  4. Missouri*                         at 2 years OR 10 years    (for some)
  5. Illinois                              at 5 years
  6. Iowa                                  at 5 years
  7. Utah                           at 5 years
  8. Washington                     at 5 years
  9. Maine                         at 10 years                           (for some)
  10. Minnesota                   at 10 years                           (for some)
  11. South Dakota*                at 10 years                           (for some)
  12. Vermont                     at 10 years                           (for some)
  13. Wyoming*                       at 10 years
  14. New Jersey                      at 15 years
  15. Rhode Island                   maximum 15 years
  16. Massachusetts             maximum 20 years
  17. Ohio*                               at 10 or 20 years
  18. Montana                          at 10 or 25 years
  19. Kentucky                    at 20 years                          (for some)
  20. Alabama*                        at 25 years
  21. Delaware*                       at 25 years
  22. Florida*                     at 25 years
  23. Louisiana*                 at 25 years
  24. Michigan*                  at 25 years
  25. Mississippi*               at 25 years
  26. Nevada*                    at 25 years
  27. Pennsylvania*            at 25 years
  28. Tennessee*                at 25 years 

State requires Lifetime Registration with No Opportunity for Removal for Juveniles:
  1. California                            
  2. Colorado*
  3. Georgia
  4. Indiana
  5. Kansas*
  6. Ohio*                           (for Tier 3’s)
  7. South Carolina*
  8. Virginia
*- State is Certified Federal Adam Walsh Act AWA/SORNA compliant by the SMART Office 

As of 08/10/16 Registration Duration/ Removal Process is Undetermined
Ø       New Mexico
Ø       New York
Ø       North Dakota
                (If anyone knows how these 3 States handle juvenile removal, please email me )

My first choice would be that Virginia no longer registers juveniles as Sex Offenders, but I know that is a pipe-dream. 


If Virginia is going to continue to require registration for our juveniles then the Commonwealth should take two steps to allow these juveniles a chance to become productive adult citizens for a mistake they made when they were a child:
  1. Place the juveniles on a Private VSP Registry, no more Internet.
Ø       22+ States have Private Registries, 20 of which place their Juveniles on them.
Ø       Private Registries are NOT prohibited by the Federal Adam Walsh Act/SORNA
  1. No longer juveniles “Lifers” with no opportunity to ever be removed from the VSP Registry.
Ø       Automatically remove the juveniles on their 21st OR 25th Birthday if they have never been charged or convicted of a crime during the time of their registration.
Ø       The Federal Adam Walsh Act/SORNA does not mandate ANY specific time-frame for juveniles to register nor does SORNA disapprove of automatic removal.

(a)  If they did have a new charge or a new conviction (not sexual, but could be a failure to register) before their 21 OR 25 birthday then they remain an RSO for 10 more years to then be allowed to petition the courts for removal.
(b)  Any new felony sexual conviction as an adult (before their B-day removal) would place them on the public Virginia Sex Offender Registry and current rules would apply. 

It’s Time for Virginia to remove the misdemeanors and the juveniles from the on-line VSP Registry and to allow the juveniles who have been compliant to be automatically removed.

Action Items:
  1. Eliminate Virginia’s archaic 2 Level Conviction-Based classification system and move towards a 3+ Level Risk-Based system which includes noting who the SVP’s are.
  2. Create a Private Registry for Virginia’s RSO’s convicted of only misdemeanors and for ALL the juveniles.
  3. Allow the juveniles who have not been charged or convicted of a new crime to be automatically removed from the Virginia Registry on their 21st or 25th birthday.
Ask Virginia Governor McAuliffe to find a sponsor and/or support the above legislation at the January 2017 Virginia General Assembly session.
Ask your one Virginia Delegate and your one Virginia Senator to sponsor legislation for the above at the January 2017 General Assembly session to.
Ask the Virginia ACLU to support and lobby for the above legislation. 

Thank you for your support!

Mary Devoy