Soon Virginia news outlets will start to write about the new
laws that take effect in Virginia
this coming Saturday, July 1st.
The Virginia Division of Legislative Services
does publish a summary of new laws following the end of session for the VA
Legislators to have on hand called In Due Course. I thought about publishing
this post back on 06/17/17 but the VDLS summary was not yet online, now it is.
outlets usually pick the most controversial new laws or the widest-net ones to
write about, there is no way they can cover every-single new law.
ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense and mens rea (criminal
intent) isn’t a required factor in the commission of a crime, especially a sex
crime or in a failure to register for RSO’s, I am going to repost my May 11th
list of new laws for Registered Sex Offenders in Virginia in case anyone missed
it the first time around. Also you can visit the 2017 General Assembly
page to follow the history of the Bills I fought this year.
11, 2017 Re-Post:
The 2017 Virginia
General Assembly Session began back on Wednesday January 11th , itadjourned on Saturday February 25thand the reconvene session (AKA Veto
Session) was held on Wednesday April 5,
This morning I finally
finalized the 2017 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 2018 GA Legislation page in anticipation of the next VA GA
So now that’s all over………….
what new laws begin on July 1, 2017 that will affect Virginias current (not just future) Registered
Sex Offenders (RSO)? Is there anything significant that you need to know about or to avoid or are now required to do?Yes there are 2
changes, only 1 is a new crime.
I skipped last year’s update
of this VA-DOC chart (separated into 2 charts for
easy viewing, below) and only realized it today.
Then newest data (June 30,
2017) won’t be available until late-summer or early autumn and I’ll need to add
a 9th column at that point.
These VA-DOC reports have a
lot of data (Recidivism Rates, # of Residential Programs, and Sex Offenders
with GPS Units) but I only chart the information I find useful as an advocate
for a Smarter Sex Offender laws.
But one point that I’ve raised
before and I’m going to raise it again is this………..
From 2009 to 2012 the VA-DOC tracked the recidivism (re-offense) rate
for VA’s Registered Sex Offenders (RSO).
Not only was the VA RSO rate
of re-offense very low, but the sexual re-offense was extremely low and overall
the RSO rates were dropping each year.
After it disappeared from the
annual report I filed a FOIA in 2015 looking for the RSO re-offense rate for
2013 and 2014 and I was advised by VA-DOC they did not track that information.
But keep in mind, Face book
is a private provider and they currently have a policy that bans ALL RSO’s. It
doesn’t matter if the conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony or if it was 2
months ago or 20 years ago.
Facebook is legally allowed
to prohibit service to who they select, just like Six Flags or YMCA’s ban ALL RSO’s.
So even with this U.S.
Supreme Court decision remember in Virginia all nicknames and aliases plus all
email addresses of RSO’s must be registered with the VirginiaState Police (or face a felony) and then the
VSP-IT Department sends those names and addresses to Facebook and if Facebook
finds a match they close the account. If that Facebook account was owned by a
VA RSO who is under VA-DOC Probation supervision that RSO will face a Probation
violation (a felony) if social media or Internet access was prohibited.
So while this is a real win
for arbitrary crimes against RSO’s it does not mean Facebook is going to allow
RSO’s to join or not close their account.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Sex Offender Social Media
Ban, June 19, 2017
Writing for the court on
Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy said:
ØEven if one were to concede the importance of the
state’s declare goal — to protect minors from sexual predators online — “the
statute here enacts a prohibition unprecedented in the scope of First Amendment
speech it burdens.”
Ø“A fundamental principle of the First Amendment is
that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen, and
then, after reflection, speak and listen once more,”
Ø“By prohibiting sex offenders from using those
websites, North Carolina with one broad stroke bars access to what for many are
the principal sources for knowing current events, checking ads for employment,
speaking and listening in the modern public square, and otherwise exploring the
vast realms of human thought and knowledge,”
Ø“These websites can provide perhaps the most powerful
mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard. They
allow a person with an Internet connection to ‘become a town crier with a voice
that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox.’”
Supreme Court rules NC law banning sex offenders from
social networking sites unconstitutional,
June 19, 2017
Samuel Alito wrote:
ØHe agreed with
Kennedy's opinion for the high court because of the North Carolina law's "extraordinary
breadth," but Alito refused to join Kennedy's opinion because of its
is unable to resist musings that seem to equate the entirety of the internet
with public streets and parks," Alito wrote in the concurring opinion.
"And this language is bound to be interpreted by some to mean that the
States are largely powerless to restrict even the most dangerous sexual predators
from visiting any internet sites, including, for example, teenage dating sites
and sites designed to permit minors to discuss personal problems with their
peers. I am troubled by the implications of the Court's unnecessary
concurring opinion continues to blast Kennedy's decision for its "loose
rhetoric" and wrote the Supreme Court ought to be "more
attentive" to how its language regarding the differences between
cybserpace and the physical world.
is correct that we should be cautious in applying our free speech precedents to
Ø"It is regrettable that the Court has not
heeded its own admonition of caution."
weeks ago my husbandsnew VSP Trooper stopped by for one of the two (per VA
law) unannounced VSP Residency checks. His original VSP Trooper was promoted
and we were assigned another Trooper instead of a VSP Compliance Officer. I
personally believe he’s assigned Troopers instead of CO’s because of my public
advocacy, but maybe not.
could tell the Trooper was holding back on asking me or rather telling me
something so I invited him inside our house instead of the typical 2-minute simple
chit-chat on the front porch.
the 10 maybe 15 minute conversation about my advocacy, legislative proposals
and yearly battles/barriers with VSP Legislative Liaisons/Representatives at
the VA GA sessions the Trooper made some key comments that I’ve decided he was
instructed to say to me. He also seemed to have established a belief that
nothing I’ve asked for over the years is reasonable or will ever be accomplished.
is about one of the points I discussed with the Trooper.
publishing the article title has been changed to Tough choices for DMV - raise
fees, shift money, or make cuts?
summary because of the malware attack on the Virginia State Police website back in April, an unexpected $1.9 Million has been spent AND the VSP
“network will have to be completely
proposals over the last few years to both VSP Leadership and Virginia
Legislators to not only modernize the VSP registration process for Virginia’s
22,000+ Registered Sex Offenders but how to cut half-a-million-dollars per year
from the annual $8.2 Million
cost of VSP Registry operation, registration, monitoring and management.
Here are the proposals I’ve
made to improve/streamline the VSP Registry:
ØLegislative Goal #2 - VA Code v. Hours of Operation
for RSO’s to Comply are at Odds goo.gl/64BAk6
ØLegislative Goal #3 - Implement a 4 Tier/Level
Risk-Based Classification System goo.gl/qYqGRv
ØLegislative Goal #8 - Eliminate the USPS Certified
letters for VSP Re-Registration and Implement a Repeating/Rotating Schedule goo.gl/kCJhI2
ØLegislative Goal #9 - Modernize the Virginia State Police Registration Process and
Track/Share the Data that the VSP gathers every year goo.gl/M6oM98
·Many (but not
all) Counties/Cities (see county/city charter for election years)
But not for:
·All 40 VA Senate seats
·All 13 Federal U.S. Congressional seats
·Both Federal U.S.
The legislation that Virginia’s 100 Delegates propose and vote on and that the
Governor signs, amends or vetos plays a much larger part in your life than what
is going on in Washington, D.C.
Virginia’s House (every 2 years), Senate (every 4 years) and
Governor (every 4 years) races are extremely important!
Plus Commonwealth Attorney’s
(every 4 years) many who run unopposed every election cycle.
Per the VA Board of Elections
the deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration for this
November’s election is Monday, October 16, 2017. Deadline to request an
absentee ballot to be mailed to you for November’s election is 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Your request must be received by your Registrar by
Two days ago was Primary Day so now we know who most (if not all) of the
candidates for this year’s election will be on November 7, 2017. Except the Virginia
Board of Elections website doesn’t post the full list of candidates until
list doesn’t easily link to the candidates websites you have to leave the page
and many times they don’t have the candidate’s website. Plus if a Legislator is
retiring and there are 2 new candidates you have no idea who previously held
So I have compiled a list of
all the current candidates and their websites.
There are 2 parts to this
Part 1 is Virginia Governor, Lieutenant
Governor and Attorney General.
To find our what District you
live in just enter your home address at this link, http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
it will tell you your House District #, who is your current State Delegate,
plus you Senate District #, your current State Senator (not up for
re-reelection until 2019) as well as your one Congress member (re-election in
Ø7 of the 100
VA House seats have NO incumbent.
Ø34 out of the 100 VA House seats have Incumbent Candidates running unopposed (compared to
2015 when it was 56 out of the 100). So 34% of the Virginia House is already
decided for the next 2 years.
Ø7 of the 100
VA House seats have no Major Party opponent for the Incumbent, just a Third Party
now updated my Per Capita Chart that I originally created during the 2016
Virginia General Assembly session per the request of a Virginia Delegate.
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 many States who are Registered Sex
Offenders. Plus there are States with Private Registries and NCMEC doesn’t note
anywhere on their map if their RSO count includes juveniles or private
registries. Also NCMEC claims their Registered Sex Offender count does NOT
include incarcerated Registered Sex Offenders, but when you compare their count
and the Virginia State Polices count they are very close which means NCMEC”s
count for VA IS including
Per Capita Chart (see below) for May 2017 is
as good as the NCMEC data.
the most notable changes and similarities within the newest versus last Decembers
per capita chart:
Note- I can email my full
spreadsheet (May 2005 to May 2017) 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.
06/06/17- The original spreadsheet/chart below was missing the column of State names, I have corrected that error. -Mary
and then again in December I begin checking the NCMEC website for their latest
"Sex Offender" count because the number they claim is the ONLY source
for a total number of Registered Sex Offenders in the U.S.. The NCMEC RSO count
is THE go-to for media, Politicians, Researchers and Victim’s Groups.
NCMEC posts the newest map their previous count disappears from the Internet
and since they don’t archive their counts for the public I started a chart
years back to chart their numbers from May 2005 to the present.
I took their latest counts and I updated my spreadsheet (see below).
update my per capita chart based on NCMEC’s counts and do a second post tomorrow.
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,
followers have noted over the years (here, here,
here) I have serious doubts about NCMEC’s data
should we even care?
Because NCMEC is the ONLY source of this data for reporters, researchers, politicians and
victims groups and until the U.S. Department of Justice requires every States
Attorney General to be the reporter of this information we are dependent on a
a few examples of the issues I’ve noticed with NCMEC’s latest Map:
Arizona did NOT add one additional
RSO since December 2016.
California claims more than 12% of Americas RSO population but yet only 6 additional RSO’s were added from December
2016 to May 2017.
Illinois’ count was 23,921 last December but as of May 2017 NCMEC claims
32,546 bumping Illinois
from 2.78% of Americas RSO population to 3.78% in just 5 months.
In contrast we have Ohio. Ohio’s count was 29,860 last December
but as of May 2017 NCMEC claims 18,424, dropping Ohio from 3.47% of Americas RSO
population to 2.14% in just 5 months. Where
did 11,436 Ohio
has NOT added ONE additional RSO in 3 years according to NCMEC. In June
2014, December 2014, June 2015, December 2015, June 2016, December 2016
and now May 2017 NCMEC claims Massachusetts’s
has exactly 11,399 RSO’s.
Just two hours before the
SWAT team surrounded their home on a quiet Midwestern suburban street, Joseph’s
parents were sitting together at church, saying thanks for the immense progress
their autistic son had recently made. After decades of struggling with a
debilitating developmental disability, Joseph—we’re using his middle name to
protect his privacy—was beginning to find his place in the world. At 25, he had
a full-time job and was getting ready to move out on his own.
The details of that Tuesday
evening in 2012—where they sat in the empty church, the light through the
stained glass windows—might have been lost in the usual blur of memories if not
for the fact that they represent, for Joseph’s parents, the last moments of
their life before. And everything for the family is now divided into before and
after—two distinct worlds separated by armed men banging on the front door.
“They showed up at about 8
o’clock and by 8:10 we were all in handcuffs,” said Joseph’s dad. “Camouflage,
bulletproof vests, helmets, assaults pistols. It was a military
operation—there’s no other way to describe it.”