finished reading the new book (intended to be a text book for Criminal Justice
students) Sex Crimes and Sex Offenders: Theory, Research, and Realities
by Donna Vandiver, Jeremy Braithwaite and Mark Stafford.
past I have just given a star rating (2, 3 or 4 stars) on the books I’ve read
from the full list here but have not placed
them in any specific order.
week I decided to make a Top 15 or maybe
it would be a Top 20 List (depending
on how many I decided were worthwhile) in order of what I think are the best
books for this particular platform. As of today that list is a “Top 18” but that doesn’t mean you
should ignore the other publications I’ve listed in the Books
page especially since I have not been able to read every one
of them. My “Top __” list will change and grow over time as new books are
published (at the moment I have 3 more new books on order) but I will keep the
most current list near the top of the
Books pagefor those looking for it.
this list for those who are interested in these issues but don’t want to wade
through a multitude of books, For those
who want to know the basic points and statistics so if they talk with
Legislators they feel confident in their knowledge on the subject.
not agree with the order of some of the book below and that’s OK it’s my
opinion after reading more than 50 books on Sex Offender
Sex Crimes, Child Pornography, SVP Civil Commitment, Teen Sexting, Criminal
Justice, Fear-Mongering, Moral Panics, and the Media to help those of you who
want to learn more without taking on a huge endeavor.
1.Refining Child Pornography Law: Crime, Language, and Social
(Law, Meaning, and Violence)
By Carissa Byrne Hessick, 2016
2.Protecting Our Kids?: How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us
3.Sex Crime, Offenders, and Society: A Critical Look at Sexual Offending
Christina Mancini, 2013
4.Sexual Violence: Evidence Based Policy and Prevention
Elizabeth L. Jeglic and Cynthia Calkins, 2016
5.Sex Fiends, Perverts, and Pedophiles: Understanding Sex Crime Policy
6.Sex Panic and the Punitive State
N. Lancaster, 2011
7.Justice Perverted: Sex Offense Law, Psychology, and Public Policy
Charles Patrick Ewing, 2011
8.Reconsidering Sex Crimes and Offenders: Prosecution or Persecution?
J. Zilney & Lisa A. Zilney, 2013 &2009
9.Juvenile Sex Offenders: What the Public Needs to Know
Camille Gibson and Donna M. Vandiver, 2008
10.Sex Offender Laws: Failed Polices, New Directions
Richard Wright, 2014&2009
11.The Perversion of Youth: Controversies in the Assessment and Treatment
of Juvenile Sex Offenders
12.Perverts and Predators: The Making of Sexual Offending Laws
J. Zilney & Lisa A. Zilney, 2009
13.Failure to Protect: America's
Sexual Predator Laws and the Rise of the PreventiveState
Eric S. Janus, 2009
14.Sexual Offenses and Offenders: Theory, Practice, and Policy
J. Terry, 2012&2005
15.Sex Crimes and Sex Offenders: Theory, Research, and Realities By Donna Vandiver, Jeremy
Braithwaite and Mark Stafford, 2016
16.Current Controversies Series: Sex Offenders and Public Policy
Edited by Lynn Zott, 2007
17.The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality and the Law: What every parent and
professional needs to know
Attwood, Isabelle Henault and Nick Dubin, 2014
Update: I wrote a post Social
Media Can be a Life Saver During an Emergency, Except for 843,000 Registered
Sex Offenders back on March 22, 2016 but after today’s SCOTUS oral
argument it still rings true http://goo.gl/ToZaUN- Mary Devoy
Argument analysis: Justices skeptical about social
media restrictions for sex offenders,
February 27, 2017
At today’s oral argument in Packingham v. North Carolina, a
challenge to a state law that imposes criminal penalties on registered sex
offenders who visit social networking sites, Justice Elena Kagan suggested that
social media sites like Facebook and Twitter were “incredibly important parts”
of the country’s political and religious culture. People do not merely rely
those sites to obtain virtually all of their information, she emphasized, but
even “structure their civil community life” around them. Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsburg echoed those sentiments, telling the North Carolina official defending the law
that barring sex offenders from social networking sites would cut them off from
“a very large part of the marketplace in ideas.” Kagan was perhaps the most
vocal opponent of the law, but by the end of an hour of oral argument it seemed
very possible that Ginsburg and at least three of Kagan’s other colleagues
would join her in striking down the North
The first half of the oral
argument was not entirely smooth sailing for attorney David Goldberg, who
argued on behalf of Lester Packingham. Packingham, who was required to register
as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to taking “indecent liberties” with a
minor, ran afoul of the North Carolina
law when he praised God on Facebook for the dismissal of his traffic tickets.
Goldberg complained that the law bans “vast swaths of core First Amendment
activity” that have nothing to do with the government’s professed purpose of
preventing sex offenders from using social media sites to gather information
that they can then use to target minors for sexual abuse. The law targets
speech on some of the platforms that Americans use most often—indeed, Goldberg
noted, under the law Packingham could not even use Twitter to read the myriad
messages discussing his own case—and imposes punishment without regard to whether
the sex offender has actually done anything wrong.
But Goldberg ran into
resistance from justices of all ideological stripes, some of whom suggested
that perhaps the ban could survive if the court interpreted it narrowly—for
example, as Justice Samuel Alito posited, by reading it as limited to “core
social networking sites” like Facebook or Google Plus. Justice Stephen Breyer
also seemed open to this possibility, telling Goldberg that perhaps the law
could be interpreted as barring sex offenders from visiting a site that allows
people to meet or exchange information.
U.S. Supreme Courts voids the North
Carolina law then any other State that has a similar
law on the books will have to revoke it OR rewrite it if the Supreme Court
leaves the door open for a rewrite.
U.S. Supreme Courts upholds the North
Carolina law then you can bet your bottom-dollar
States across the country will jump on the bandwagon and pass laws doing the
Right now the U.S. Supreme
Court STILL has only 8 justices instead of the standard 9 that means there is a
possibility there could be a tie vote and that happens then the North Carolina's Supreme
Court ruling would stand (I think), not the Court of Appeals.
This is an important RSO case to keep an eye on
Over the last few months I’ve
posted articles on the case in the In the News page
In April 2010, Lester
Packingham’s traffic ticket was dismissed, prompting him to take to Facebook to
celebrate. He posted that “God is Good! How about I got so much favor they
dismissed the ticket before court even started? No fine, no court costs, no
nothing spent . . . Praise be to GOD, WOW! Thanks JESUS!”
We have no way to know
whether any higher powers read Packingham’s Facebook posts. But at least one
mortal authority did: a Durham,
N.C., police officer who had
logged onto Facebook to see whether any registered sex offenders had been using
the site. He found the post by Packingham, who had been indicted in 2002 on two
counts of statutory rape of a 13-year-old and eventually convicted of taking
“indecent liberties of a minor.” Packingham had been sentenced to 10 to 12
months in prison, which the judge suspended, and ordered to register as a sex
I sent this to
a few VA newspapers 2 days ago, I have not heard back so I’m going ahead and posting
Virginia dogs that bite people or another animal “deserve the benefit of the doubt”
according to Delegate Matthew Fariss and the entire Virginia Legislature based on
their unanimous votes for 2017’s HB2381which is now headed to
Governor McAuliffe’s desk.
Delegate Fariss wantsfewer dogs to be placed on the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry with
Dogs that are declared “dangerous”
by Virginia Courts must be reported by the local animal control officers to the
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and then they are
Unlike the Virginia State
Police Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry, the Dangerous Dog
Registry has only had 3 follow-up pieces
of Legislation (4 counting Delegate Fariss’) since it was established. Whereas
per the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission from 2005 to 2016
the average number of “Sex Offender” Bills proposed at each VA General Assembly
HB2381gives local Animal Control Officers the
discretion to determine if they think a dog (or cat) should be considered
dangerous or not based on “single nip or
bite resulting only in a scratch, abrasion, or other minor injury”.
Currently Animal Control Officers
must summon the offending dog’s owner to appear in General District Court for
them to explain why their animal should not be considered dangerous. If the
court does rule the dog is a danger then the owner has 45 days to obtain a
dangerous-dog certificate, Farris’ Bill will reduce that time-frame to 30 days.
During the House Agriculture Committee
debate on HB2381 a representative from the VA Animal Control Association told the Committee members “We want to be able to give officers that
discretion to look at the entire totality of each individual situation”.
That sounds reasonable, right?
Every situation, every case,
every dog is different and a one-size-fits-all law that sweeps them all
together to be publicly listed as “dangerous” will lead to low-risk and even
no-risk dogs (and their owners) being wrongly stigmatized. A dangerous dog is
going to cause fear and perhaps even hate within the community and we should be
certain that’s not happening with dogs who pose no threat, right?
So why is it that we deny
such discretion for people in Virginia?
In Virginia the majority of crimes against
children and sex crimes have mandatory minimum sentences, which allows the
Prosecutors to stack charges, to be selective with their plea deals and to usually
avoid a trial with more than 94% of criminal cases being settled by a plea. In
these cases Virginia
judges have no discretion to consider the specific facts of the case or the history
and character of the person charged, the minimum sentence is written into
Virginia Code our judges are not permitted to give the-benefit-of-the-doubt in
cases of a low or a no-risk offender.
Virginia Code also states
that no plea deal for a crime that requires registration as a Sex Offender can include
avoiding the registration, it’s
People who are charged with a
crime against a child or a sex crime in Virginia
have no options; there is no flexibility for them or for the judge, only for
For 9 Virginia General
Assembly sessions I have opposed myth-based and hate-driven legislation
directed towards those who are already on the VSP Sex Offender Registry and for
those who will one day be listed. I have been advocating for data-driven laws
and to allow discretion in each case, classification and duration of
registration and so far no reform has been taken seriously.
But this year Virginia
Legislators have unanimously agreed that dogs deserve the-benefit-of-the-doubt and
that each individual situation for dogs should be considered before State registration
is deemed appropriate.
Yet people in Virginiacan not and will not be given the same consideration or options that we are
about to give to our animals.
Somehow our priorities and
the foundation of justice being served have been flipped in the Commonwealth
with 2017’s HB2381.
So before anyone cheers for
the passage of HB2381 ask yourself why Virginia’s
Legislators have intentionally made it impossible for people to get fair and
balanced consideration when accused of a “heinous act” but they all believe
latitude is needed for dogs.
want to post Jacob Sullum’s latest article Sex and Kids from Reason.com but for
the moment it’s only available with a Reason.com subscription so if I post it I
may face legal repercussions.
April begins the article may be posted for free on their website but for anyone
who has a Reason.com subscription I recommend reading it if not Elizabeth Nolan
Brown’s article American Sex Police too.
A bill that originally had
nothing to do with Registered Sex Offenders was amended back on 01/16/17 by the
House Transportation Committee to include them.
Patroned by Delegate Paul Krizekwas originally increasing
the fee and extending the time before expiration from 7 to 8 years for Virginia Special Identification Cards
(for Person 70 Years of Age or Older who do not have a Driver’s License) under §§ 46.2-333.1and46.2-345.
Then on 01/16/17 the House Transportation Committee amended
HB1559 and I was not aware of the change until today but it’s already passed
through both chambers.
The amendment is:
special identification card shall expire on the last day of the
month of birth of the applicant in years in which the applicant attains an age
exactly divisible by five applicant's
birthday at the end of the period of years for which a special identification
card has been issued. At no time shall any special identification card be
issued for less than three nor more than seven eight years, except under the provisions of subsection B of § 46.2-328.1 and except
that those cards issued to children under the age of 15 shall expire on the
child's sixteenth birthday, thereafter the special identification card may be renewed on
or before the last day of the month of birth of the applicant and shall be
valid for five years, expiring in the next year in which the applicant's age is
exactly divisible by five, except under the provisions of subsection B of § 46.2-328.1.
Notwithstanding these limitations, the Commissioner may extend the validity
period of an expiring card if (i) the Department is unable to process an
application for renewal due to circumstances beyond its control, (ii) the
extension has been authorized under a directive from the Governor, and (iii)
the card was not issued as a temporary special identification card under the
provisions of subsection B of § 46.2-328.1. However,
in no event shall the validity period be extended more than 90 days per
occurrence of such conditions. Any special
identification card issued to a person required to register pursuant to Chapter
9 (§ 9.1-900 et seq.)
of Title 9.1 shall expire on the applicant's birthday in years which the
applicant attains an age equally divisible by five. For each person required to
register pursuant to Chapter 9 of Title 9.1, the Department may not waive the
requirement that each such person shall appear for each renewal or the
requirement to obtain a photograph in accordance with subsection C of § 46.2-323.
So per this 2017 Bill which
has passed through both the Virginia House and Senate and is headed to the
Governor to be signed into law……..any 70+ year old Registered Sex Offender who
does not have a drivers license and needs a Special Identification Card MUST
somehow (they don’t have a drivers license) make it into a DMV location in the
month of their 70, 75, 80, 85 and 90 birthdays. Unlike the rest of the senior
citizens in Virginia who can renew both online or through the mail and their
cards are valid for 8 years.
This 2017 change is similar
to the change made back in 2008 (before I became an advocate) when HB534- Patroned by Delegate Bobby
Mathieson (he’s now a U.S. Marshal in Hampton Roads) when the House Transportation
Committee increase Virginia Driver’s Licenses lifespan from 5 years to 8 years
and to encourage online or postal renewals they added a DMV-location visit fee,
EXCEPT if you are on the VSP Sex Offender Registry. Any RSO”S driver’s license
is only valid for 5 years and they are required to renew in-person at a DMV
location which includes the additional fee.
In the last 6 years there
have been multiple “Sex Offender” Bills or amendments that have gone through
the House and Senate Transportation Committees, it seemed like a new theme for
them, I will have to do a better job at monitoring those Committees too.
If anyone wants to join me in
asking Governor McAuliffe to amend HB1559before signing it to allow
any Registered Sex Offender who can not drive to submit a letter from their
doctor stating this so that they can renew through the postal mail or online I
would appreciate it.
Here is a sample message for
anyone unsure of what to ask for.
HB1559-Delegate Krizek is headed to your desk.
House Transportation Committee added an amendment on January 16th
that has remained in the Bill which doesn’t take into account the age, mobility
and/or health of those it is directed towards.
amendment to section C states that
anyone on the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry must renew their
Special Identification card (for Person 70 Years of Age or older) every 5 years
instead of every 8 years AND that they are NOT permitted to do so online OR
through the mail.
Virginians are 70+ years old and they need these cards because they do NOT
drive. Many of them probably don’t make it out much except to the doctor’s
office where they would need to show identification along with their Medicare
or Insurance card. But the Virginia Legislature has mandated they go in-person
to a DMV location to renew their cards AND they’ve decided that it will be
valid for 37% less time than other cards.
understand that Virginia Drivers Licenses for Registered Sex Offenders also
mandate in-person renewal at a DMV location and that they too expire 37% sooner
than other Virginians Drivers Licenses, but the citizens who need these Special
Identification Cards don’t drive and could be in poor health. This Bill
prohibits them from renewing through the US mail or online with the help of
a family member, this is truly pointless.
amend HB1559 to allow any VSP Registered Sex Offender who can not drive to
submit a letter to DMV from their doctor stating that they are unable to travel
to a DMV location every 5 years and allow them to renew either through the mail
or online like everyone else.
you very much.
Submit your amendment request
to the Governor here:
Dear Virginia Governor McAuliffe, Secretary of
Public Safety Moran and Virginia
Delegates and Senators,
I have some
issues with the below article, like the
State Police stating aViolent RSO can
petition for removal after only 3 years on the VSP Registry is 100% non-sense,
if someone from the VSP actually claimed that falsehood in a letter they need
to be released of their position immediately. It’s a fact 85% of Violent
Registered Sex Offenders are “Lifers” in Virginia, the rest must wait until 25
years has passed before they can petition, but let’s move past that part for
Asst. Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryan Frank has
prosecuted now 19 year old Zachary for the images he received when he was 17
years old from a 13 year old he never met in person and who was in her
underwear, NOT nude.
Zachary was charged with 20 felonies in Stafford, VA that came
with a possible sentence of 350 years in a Virginia prison.
Asst.Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryan Frank offered
Zachary a plea deal of only 2 counts of indecent liberties w/ a minor for which
he will become a Violent Registered Sex Offender, for life.
Zachary has been evaluated by 2 psychologists and
there is no evidence he is a danger to society.
He is sitting in jail at this moment awaiting his
sentence on March 9th.
Speaker Bill Howell has written a letter supporting
Zachary and stating registration as a Violent Sex Offender for life is not
warranted, I could not agree more.
But then I would ask all of you, whom I have been
asking for the last 9 years to make a provision to exclude Teen Sexting from
VA’s Child Pornography statutes because every Virginia C.A.’s prosecutorial
discretion is not up to par why is this one young mans case worthy of the
Speaker of the Houses intervention but all the others haven’t been?
defense of MANY truly absurd Bills over the last 9 years I’ve heard many of you say
“if it saves just one child, it’s worth it”. Yes, Speaker Howell has taken
action over rhetoric but cases like this shouldn’t be piecemealed, there is a
glaring problem with Virginia
law and it’s finally time to take action.
1. Zachary does NOT belong on the
VSP Sex Offender Registry, period.
2. All of Asst. Commonwealth
Attorney Ryan Frank’s cases and plea deals need to be reviewed by the Stafford
County Commonwealth Attorney and if there are any other Teen Sexting cases take
them away from Mr. Frank.
3. If someone within the VSP sent a
letter claiming after only 3 years on the VSP Registry Zachary would be allowed
to petition the court for removal when VA law clearly says otherwise, they need to be
disciplined and counseled in VA law this week.
4. It's time to stop
prosecuting Teen Sexting as a crime in Virginia if no threat, force, intimidation,
extortion or mass-publication has occurred.
Teen Girl Sent Teen Boy 5
Inappropriate Pictures. He Faced Lifetime Registry as a 'Violent Sex Offender'
or 350 Years in Jail.
to the world of teens, computers, and prosecutors who want to look tough on sex