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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Arbitrary Felonies: Virginia’s Loitering, Residency and Employment Laws that Only Apply to Registered Sex Offenders


A few days ago I posted for the first time about HB1485 and some of the many reasons I will be opposing it. 

HB1485 adds “shall include any offense under the law of any other jurisdiction that is substantially similar” to §§ 18.2-370.2 , §§ 18.2-370.3 AND §§ 18.2-370.4 . So any out-of-state OR military convictions from 2000 (or later), 2006 (or later) or 2008 (or later) who are already listed on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry would now be retroactively required to abide by these three restrictions or face a Class 6 Felony. 

I oppose two (§§ 18.2-370.2  and §§ 18.2-370.3) of the three parts in HB1485 but I do not oppose the §§ 18.2-370.4 portion.

So for the last few days I’ve been reading and rereading these 3 VA statutes, picking out problems with the current verbiage, looking up court challenges/rulings across the U.S., deciding on the outline for my mass email to all the Virginia Delegates  / Senators and percolating on what my public statement to the House Courts of Justice Committee and if needed to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee will include.
 
For anyone who has never read these 3 Virginia Statutes I suggest you click on the 3 links and attempt to understand what you can and can not legally do if convicted under one of the specific statutes (crimes).  

You’ll find that not all sexual statutes apply and even some secondary convictions (“while in the commission of”) are needed, resulting in a confusing maze for Virginia’s RSO to know if they are prohibited from loitering at just schools or parks too. And as for intent to commit a crime, only Loitering at a playground, athletic field/facility or gymnasium includes contact with a child, with everything else the RSO’s mere existence is a Class 6 Felony. Even……..if the original conviction back in 2000 or 2006 was a misdemeanor! 

Here’s a quick run down of the 3 VA Statutes that 2017-HB1485 proposes to expand. 

§§ 18.2-370.2 – Loitering within 100ft of:
  • A primary, secondary or high school, if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2000
  • A child daycare program (not defined) , if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2006
  • A locality operated playground, athletic field or facility, or gymnasium, if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2008 “for the purpose of having any contact whatsoever with children that are not in his custody”
§§ 18.2-370.3 *Residing within 500ft of:
  • A primary, secondary or high school, if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2006 AND if the Offender is 3 or more years older than the victim
  • A child day center (as defined in § 63.2-100 ), if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2006 AND if the Offender is 3 or more years older than the victim
  • The boundary line of any place he knows is a public park, if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2008 AND if the Offender is 3 or more years older than the victim  when such park:
                        (i) Is owned and operated by a county, city or town
                        (ii) Shares a boundary line with a primary, secondary, or high school
                        (iii) Is regularly used for school activities

                * The residence is allowed if the school, daycare or park is established subsequent to his conviction

§§ 18.2-370.4 – Prohibited from working (or volunteering) on school property:
  • A primary, secondary or high school, if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2006 AND if the Offender is 3 or more years older than the victim
  • A child day center, if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2006 AND if the Offender is 3 or more years older than the victim 
Clear as mud, isn’t it? 

Now I’ll be posting about HB1485 many more times over the next 4+ weeks with many facts and action items but I do want to remind all the readers here that back on May 20, 2016 I submitted a FOIA to the Virginia State Police asking how many RSO’s are obligated to abide by §§ 18.2-370.3-Residency Restrictions and we learned that the VSP who manages and monitors Virginia’s RSO’s, registers and re-registers them, opens all investigations for violations and maintains the online Virginia State Police Registry had no idea how many RSO’s currently must abide by Virginia Residency Restrictions but yet Delegate Dickie Bell is looking to expand it with 2017’s HB1485 which was a request from a VSP Investigator in his District. 

So………We (the VSP) have no idea how many people are obligated to abide by a baseless, fear-mongering law that reduces their housing options, has been ruled unconstitutional in other states and results in an arbitrary felony….all  for a public Registry that supposed to be Administrative, not punitive but we (the VSP) want to expand it to include out-of-state and military convictions going all the way back to 2000. 

Both Virginia’s Loitering Law and Residency Law should be repealed, NOT expanded and I hope readers will take action against this hateful, ignorant and punitive Bill at the upcoming session. I won’t just be opposing a Delegates proposal, but the Virginia State Police who can’t even pull data on the current situation in the Commonwealth whose employee is pushing to sweep up even more people retroactively which could result in homelessness and/or them committing a felony next autumn when they are legally allowed to take their own children to school today.

Just remember what the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals stated back on November 30, 2016 in their ruling on North Carolinas Residency Restrictions “empirical evidence is needed to prove that without the restriction harm will occur”. 

There is ZERO evidence that loitering or residency restrictions against RSO’s make our communities any safer. 

Whether HB1485 affects you or your loved one (or not) the Commonwealth’s refusal to study our current Sex Offender Registry, laws and classification system while continuing to cast the net wider and wider every GA session should propel you to oppose HB1485. See December 23, 2016 Action Item for more details. 

Mary Davye Devoy

Friday, December 23, 2016

Action Item – Oppose Virginia HB1485 Patroned by Delegate Dickie Bell and Requested by a Virginia State Police Investigator


HB1485:             Sex offenses prohibiting proximity to children and working on school property; penalty.

Patroned/Sponsored By-                 Virginia Delegate Richard P. Bell

A Misleading Bill Title as it does MUCH more than restrict working on school property! 

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: https://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2017/hb1485/ 

HB1485 adds “shall include any offense under the law of any other jurisdiction that is substantially similar” to §§ 18.2-370.2 , §§ 18.2-370.3 AND §§ 18.2-370.4  

So any out-of-state OR military conviction from 2000 through today would be retroactively swept up not just in the Virginia prohibition/felony for “working on school property” BUT also for our “loitering” AND “residency restriction” laws. These people are already listed on the Virginia State Police Registry and they are abiding by all of the legal restrictions, regulations and mandates that Registered Sex Offenders convicted in Virginia must abide by, WHY would we now demand that their choice of a residence today is a felony and make them homeless or that any future residence they are considering be limited under the threat of a felony? 

If a conviction date of July 1, 2017 is NOT added to the 3 parts of HB1485 we’d need to know
  1. How many current VSP RSO's w/ out-of-state or military convictions would be retroactively included under §§ 18.2-370.2 ?
  2. How many current VSP RSO's w/ out-of-state or military convictions would be retroactively included under the new §§ 18.2-370.3 ?
  3. How many current VSP RSO's w/ out-of-state or military convictions would be retroactively included under the new §§ 18.2-370.4 ? 
Per the FOIA request image at the top of this post, the Virginia State Police have no idea how many current RSO’s that would be. REALLY? By the way, I did ask the patron Delegate Dickie Bell how many people would now be obligated to abide by the three different sections if HB1485 became law on July 1st as written, he didn’t know either. But yet he’s proposing a new felony for them, retroactively! Oh, and the idea for this Bill came from a Virginia State Police Investigator, yep! 
 

Two 2017 Virginia General Assembly Pages to Keep an Eye On When the 30-Day Session Begins on January 11, 2017


In less than 3 weeks the 2017 Virginia General Assembly Session begins in Richmond. 

In anticipation of the 2017 Virginia General Assembly Session I have created two new pages (on the right side of the screen) in the Directory. 


The 2017 Bill/Legislation page will be updated weekly for now and then as the session begins I will update it daily, possibly multiple times a day. 

If you missed my earlier post on Getting Ready for the 2017 Virginia Session including the options available for Tracking Bills go here 

All Action Items, Alerts or Hearing Notices for the 2017 G.A. session will not be added to the GA Bill/Legislation page but instead they will be a “post” here on the Home page.   

Thank you for you support and please, please take action on all future Action Alerts ‘for’ and ‘against’ legislation.  

Mary Devoy

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

50 States Per Capita for Registered Sex Offenders, As of December 2016 Oregon is #1, West Virginia Moved Up 9 Spots to #18, South Carolina Dropped 20 Spots to #36 and Virginia is #23


OK, since the NCMEC December 2016 Map came out in the last 2 days, the Per Capita Chart I originally created during the 2016 Virginia GA session per the request of a Virginia Delegate needed to be revised. 

NCMEC gives the 100,000 per capita numbers but that really doesn’t mean much to most folks, they need something a bit more tangible. So I took the idea from my Virginia State Police Registry Growth chart where I calculate 1 out of every Adult Male in the State. 

Now, not every Registered Sex Offender is a Male, in Virginia approximately 5% of the VSP Registry is female. 

Also not every Registered Sex Offender is an adult; there are juveniles in most States who are Registered Sex Offenders. Plus there are States with Private Registries and NCMEC doesn’t state anywhere if their official count is including juveniles or private lists. Finally NCMEC claims their Registered Sex Offender count does NOT include incarcerated Registered Sex Offenders, well what about civilly committed SVP’s? We just don’t know. 

So this Per Capita Chart (see below) for December 2016 is as good as the NCMEC data. 

Here are the most notable changes and similarities with the new chart versus the June 2016 per capita chart: 

  • Oregon remains #1 per capita for Registered Sex Offenders. 1 out of every 139 Person, 1 out of every 107 Adult Person, AND 1 out of every 52 Adult Male is a Registered Sex Offender.
  • The Territory of Guam remains at #2 per capita for Registered Sex Offenders. 1 out of every 166 Person, 1 out of every 127 Adult Person, AND 1 out of every 62 Adult Male is a Registered Sex Offender.
  • Texas moved up from #14 to now #12. 1 out of every 310 Person, 1 out of every 237 Adult Person, AND 1 out of every 116 Adult Male is a Registered Sex Offender.
  • Alaska dropped from #13 to #15. 1 out of every 315 Person, 1 out of every 242 Adult Person, AND 1 out of every 118 Adult Male is a Registered Sex Offender.
  • West Virginia jumped up from #27 to #18.  1 out of every 337 Person, 1 out of every 258 Adult Person, AND 1 out of every 126 Adult Male is a Registered Sex Offender.
  • Wyoming jumped up from #26 to #21. 1 out of every 362 Person, 1 out of every 278 Adult Person, AND 1 out of every 136 Adult Male is a Registered Sex Offender.
  • Vermont moved up from #34 to #31.
  • New Jersey moved up from #44 to #41.
  • The District of Columbia moved up from #47 to #44.

December 2016 U.S. Sex Offender Map from National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) is Now Online. They Say There are 859,500 Registered Sex Offenders in the 50 States and 5 U.S. Territories.


Note- I can email my full spreadsheet (May 2005 to December 2016) to anyone who is interested, it’s just too wide to post on this blog as an image and attachments can not be loaded onto a blog.

 
Every May/June and December I begin checking the NCMEC website for their latest "Sex Offender" count because the number they claim is the go-to for media, Politicians, Researchers and Victim’s Groups.  

Today I found their latest map for December 6, 2016: http://www.missingkids.org/en_US/documents/Sex_Offenders_Map.pdf 

So I updated my Excel spreadsheet (see below) that tracks the counts from every NCMEC since May 2005 including the rate of growth. Then I updated my per capita chart. 

There will always be an ebb-and-flow to the U.S. RSO population growth, those who move to another state, those who die, new crimes being implemented in States, Court rulings that add or remove people, Court petitions for removal being granted, etc.   

Here are a few of the December 2016 issues that I see in NCMEC’s Map: 

  • In June 2016 NCMEC claimed South Carolina had 15,131 RSO’s. Its 6 months later and now they say South Carolina has 9,977. Where did 5,154 RSO’s go in just 6 months?
  • In contrast we have Illinois and West Virginia. In June 2016 NCMEC claimed Illinois had 21,913 and for December 2016 their count is 23,921. That’s 2,008 new people in 6 months! As for West Virginia, in June 2016 they had 4,604 and in December 2016 it jumped to 5,485, that’s 881 new people at a 20% rate of growth in 6 months!
  • Florida has 8% of the entire U.S. RSO population but yet NCMEC’s growth rate for Florida for the last 6 months has barely moved. In June 2016 it was 68,845 and now for December 2016 it’s supposedly 68,899.
  • And Massachusetts hasn’t added even one new RSO in 2 years according to NCMEC. December 2014, June 2015, December 2015, June 2016 and December 2016 they claim it’s remained at 11,399.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ask Your Virginia Delegate and Senator to Sponsor “Smart” Sex Offender Legislation in 2017!



The 2017 Virginia General Assembly begins in 5 weeks in Richmond Virginia. 

Did you know that “Sex Offender” Bills were the #1, #2 and #3 most requested Bills (Legislation) for 10 out of the last 11 GA sessions? 

Have you asked your Virginia Delegate and Virginia Senator to sponsor a “Smart” Sex Offender Bill for the upcoming session? 

Not sure of what to ask them for?  

Try one of these:
  1. Action Item from April 13, 2016 -   Goal #22: Hate Crime                               http://goo.gl/eJYzBz
  2. Action Item from May 20, 2016 -   Goal #7: Residency Restrictions          http://goo.gl/re29t3      
  3. Action Item from June 3, 2016 -     Goal #9: Teen Sexting                               http://goo.gl/rSS8mX
  4. Action Item from June 7, 2016 –    Goal/Question #17: RSO’s Right to Worship            http://goo.gl/y7tfbq
  5. Action Item from June 14, 2016 – Goal #11: 21-Day Rule AND Goal #16: Add Sexual Misdemeanors to Writs                                              http://goo.gl/Ns4jGs
  6. Action Item from June 29, 2016 – Goal #8: Automatically Remove Non-Violent RSO’s from VSP Registry on 15th  year Anniversary             http://goo.gl/q4MmyF
  7. Action Item from July 28, 2016 –  Goal #12: Move to Rotating Re-Registration System based on RSO’s DOB                                                              http://goo.gl/cjmXFC
  8. Action Item from August 10, 2016 – Goal #4: Scrap the 2-Level Conviction-Based Classification System for a 3 or 4 Level Risk-Based System AND Goal #14: Remove the Misdemeanor Offenses and Juveniles from the Public Virginia Sex Offender Registry  http://goo.gl/nZPtFP
  9. Action Item from October 7, 2016 – Goal #3: Verbiage in the “3 day” and “30 Minute” Statute needs to be Amended                                               http://goo.gl/58kDYl
  10. Action Item from October 7, 2016 – Goal #1: Remove Employer Info from VSP Registry http://goo.gl/1Uksjk

Ask your one Virginia Delegate and your one Virginia Senator http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/ to sponsor one or two of these pieces of legislation (which ever ones you feel the most strongly about) at the upcoming January 2017 General Assembly session. 

Ask Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe https://governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/communicating-with-the-governors-office/ to find a sponsor and/or support any of these pieces of legislation at the January 2017 General Assembly session. 

Ask the Virginia ACLU to step up to prevent the yearly slew of “feel good” laws against Virginia’s RSO that are based on zero facts.......... and for them to protect the rights and the Constitution when Virginia Legislators are targeting RSO’s for no reason other than anger, hate or political gain. 

Thank you! 

Mary Davye Devoy

6 Years Ago Today I Wrote a Piece Explaining Why I Advocate for Reform of the Virginia Sex Offender Registry and Laws


6 years ago Today I wrote a Piece Explaining Why I Advocate for Reform of the Virginia Sex Offender Registry that was printed in the Virginian Pilot.  Sex Offender Registry: The Result of Legislative Predator Hysteria, December 5, 2010:  http://hamptonroads.com/2010/12/sex-offender-registry-result-legislative-predator-hysteria 

It’s not the only piece I’ve written, that’s been written about me or that I’ve been quoted in over the last 8 years of advocacy but I do believe it captures just how broad and how punitive Virginia laws and our VSP Registry has become from it’s original intent. If it could happen to us, it could happen to anyone and I don’t want that to happen. 
 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Laws that Restrict/Regulate RSO’s that Politicians have Claimed are “Logical and/or Common Sense” to Get Them Passed BUT Have ZERO Evidence /Empirical Data to Support Their Effectiveness…….Unconstitutional!


 
Excellent ruling by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (which is in Richmond, Virginia) for North Carolina RSO’s yesterday!


Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Absurdly Repressive North Carolina Sex Offender Law, December 2, 2016

4th Circuit strikes down North Carolina residency/movement restrictions on sex offenders, December 1, 2016

Appeals Court: Some N.C. sex offender limits unconstituional, December 1, 2016

Fourth Circuit panel rejects North Carolina's efforts to defendant constitutionally hinky provisions of state sex offender rules, December 1, 2016

Breaking: Fourth Circuit holds NC premises statute unconstitutional, December 1, 2016

Cited Radio and CBC Radio The Doc Project’s Two Part Podcast Exiled


Cited Podcast #29: Exiled Part 1 — A Year In New York’s Infamous ‘Sex Offender Motel’ (49:00) w/ recordings from Chris Dum’s (a founding member of Sex Offense Policy and Research www.sopresearch.org ) research for his 2016 book  Exiled in America: Life on the Margins in a Residential Motel (Studies in Transgression)
 

Cited Podcast #30: Exiled Part 2 — The Mennonites and the Sex Offenders (59:24) Canada’s Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) Program

January 10, 2017: 3 Virginia Seats to be Decided in Special Election



The day before the 2017 Virginia General Assembly session begins in Richmond there will be 3 Special Elections in Virginia on January 10th to fill 3 State seats that will be vacant because State Representatives were elected in November to go to U.S. Congress.