Saturday, March 18, 2017

Farewell Legislative Goal #2, You Were Extremely Worthy but the Virginia State Police Opposed You for More than 7 Years…..So They Won, While Virginians Lost

I am redoing my Legislative Goal page this weekend. One of the changes that may be noticed on that page is Goal #2 is not what it used to be. That’s because I’ve removed it and am no longer working on it. 

But I wanted to be sure Goal #2 is documented on this site because I spent a lot of time over 8 Virginia General Assemblies trying to accomplish Goal #2 but at every turn the Virginia State Police Legislative Liaisons became a barrier, with different excuses or demands every session. 

So this Post today is a look back at 8 years of trying to get one simple and necessary reform accomplished in Virginia and the unbelievable push-back that occurred.

What is the problem or problems, what are the possible solutions, steps taken to achieve those solutions, who objected and how did they object and where are we today. Are we better off? NO we aren’t. Read on.

Mary Devoy

Original Goal #2 was, written notice of all Legal Restrictions /Regulations that all Registered Sex Offenders (RSO) must abide by in Virginia be given. 

When new "Sex Offender" laws are passed in Virginia, including restricting their movement, their employment, their housing or what information is mandated to be submitted within a specific timeframe by the Offender, they are NOT notified of the change in law, but yet are obligated to follow the new rule.

These specific laws passed by the Virginia Legislature carry a penalty of a Class 6 Felony, even if the original conviction requiring registration was a misdemeanor. These laws are not intuitive but yet RSO’s are expected not to violate them. 

When a Virginian is under DOC Probation they receive a complete list of rules that they sign to acknowledge receipt. Then if the Probationer breaks a rule, they face the legal consequences for the violation. 

But the Commonwealth makes no effort  to advise Registered Sex Offenders (RSO's) and their “Rules of the Game” change yearly when new retroactive laws are passed and if they "guess" incorrectly they face up to 5 years in prison. An extremely high cost paid for by Virginians for an arbitrary felony based on an administrative act (the VSP Registry). 

If a law (that originally required a fiscal impact) is important enough for the Virginia Legislature to pass, is it NOT equally important to inform those citizens it is intended to manage? 

States like North Carolina, Illinois & Indiana advise their RSO’s of their legal obligations at every re-registration and Illinois & Kentucky notify their RSO's of new changes in law. 

All Virginia and all Federal laws should be available in easily understandable terms not legal mumbo-jumbo.  

The first copy would be given to an RSO at upon their first registration and then an updated and complete list given each year after the General Assembly session when the new laws take effect on July 1st . 

The list would be posted on-line and available upon request including to be mailed to those RSO’s without Internet access.