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Friday, February 12, 2016

Mary Davye Devoy: Why Do I Advocate?


This 2016 Virginia G.A. session is my 8th session standing up in opposition of “feel good laws” and advocating for data-driven reform of the Virginia Sex Offender Registry and our criminal sex statutes. 

Editorial by Mary Davye Devoy
Has Virginia’s Sex Offender Registry Kept Us Safe? July 5, 2015
A program that claimed it would better protect society has been in place for 20 years. We owe it to our citizens to see whether it has done what was promised, is cost effective, whether justice is being served or reforms are needed.

Editorial by Mary Davye Devoy
Campbell: Sex offender bill would stir up angry mobs, February 15, 2015:

Roanoke Times Point & Counterpoint Editorial: Does the VA Sex Offender Registry Need Reform?
Part 1- March 31, 2013:
Point: Raising fear, to no effect, Mary Devoy
Counterpoint: Why sex offender registries work, Senator Bill Stanley
Part 2- April 7, 2013:
Rebuttal: Don’t believe every scary statistic, Mary Devoy
Rebuttal: Sex crimes are among the most heinous, Senator Bill Stanley 

Va. Lobbyist Works Tirelessly to Soften Sex Crime Laws, March 27, 2012:
Sex Offender Registry: The Result of Legislative Predator Hysteria, December 5, 2010:  http://hamptonroads.com/2010/12/sex-offender-registry-result-legislative-predator-hysteria

Next Wednesday is the day after Cross-Over Day, the day that all Virginia House Bills have either made it through the House and will now be heard in the Senate and all Senate Bills have survived a vote in the Senate and will be heard in the House. 

And yet I still get half-way through session and I find myself asking...... why the hell am I doing this?  

This year I’ve been publically chastised by Senator Obenshain in a room of over 125 people (on my birthday) for a policy he claimed existed but yet is not posted online, on the Committee room or spoken before a meeting begins.  

Then on January 27th in the Virginia Senate Transportation Committee freshman Senator Amanda Chase made an open inquiry to the entire room if I was a mother or not. I had to answer by telling everyone in attendance that for close to 20 years we attempted to have children to only learn it was impossible. Then Senator Chase claimed to the room that as a mother, the protection of children matters to her, as if it does not matter to me. In other words anyone who is childless shouldn’t ever wage opposition or an opinion on any issues dealing with children. I was stunned by this cheap-tactic to silence and shame me but then freshman Senator Sutterlein piled on to her comment to further shame me I came to realize that that facts no longer matter in the Virginia Legislature. Fear-mongering and public-shaming has taken precedence; the voice of reason has been extinguished.
 

Federal Bill HR2490: Bertie’s Respect for National Cemeteries Act Would Expand Veteran Burial Benefits to be Denied to Those Convicted by State Statutes, Not Just Federal as Tier III’s, Even Though Virginia Doesn’t have a Tier/Level Classification System. Plus There’s a Proposal to Also Ban Those Who Were Accused/Charged of a Sex Crime But Not Convicted……. All Under a Cost Savings Plan


Federal Bill HR 2490: Bertie’s Respect for National Cemeteries Act was submitted last May and hasn’t had any movement. Now with the below article it has a good chance of being heard by either the House Armed Services or House Veterans' Affairs Committees. 

The Sponsor is:

The current Co-Sponsors are:

 

VA Wants Vets Charged in Serious Sex Crimes Barred From VA Burials, February 12, 2016
By Bryant Jordan

The Department of Veterans Affairs is asking Congress to pass legislation prohibiting veterans charged with the most serious category of sex crimes from interment in veterans' cemeteries. 

The proposed ban would go further than current law prohibiting convicted and registered Tier III sex offenders from being buried in VA cemeteries by barring those who die before being convicted or who flee to avoid prosecution. 

Tier III sex offenders are those convicted of aggravated sexual abuse, or sexual abuse or abusive sexual contact against a minor under age 13, according to federal statute. 

In 2011, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri, sponsored the Hallowed Grounds Act, which was signed by President Obama in January 2013. 

The law put Tier III sex offenders in the same category as veterans convicted of capital crimes, who have been barred from veteran cemetery burials since 1997. That year, President Clinton signed legislation to ensure Army veteran Timothy McVeigh, convicted of blowing up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma, would not be eligible for such interment.