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Friday, February 9, 2018

Action Item for EVRYONE! A Virginia Court of Appeals Ruling was Based on One Word in Virginia Code § 9.1-903. that Virginia Has Never Implemented, So the Ruling is Incorrect.


Almost a week and a half ago the Court of Appeals of Virginia made a ruling that a Virginia Sex Offender Registry mandate/requirement is NOT punitive.

I only learned of this ruling yesterday when I found an article on VA Lawyers Weekly that I was unable to read because I don’t have a subscription.

Sex offender registry law not punitive 
https://valawyersweekly.com/2018/02/08/sex-offender-registry-law-not-punitive/

Here is the ruling
http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opncavwp/0152172.pdf it’s only 13 pages long, it’s easy to read and I suggest EVERY RSO and the loved one of an RSO read it.

It’s about the Virginia law that mandates Registered Sex Offenders have only 30 minutes to register any changes in their email addresses in-person.

Why do I want you to read it?

Because on page 12 it says VA Code states an offender can update their email address either in person or electronically so the 2011 Snyder decision from Michigan does not apply to Baugh.

This is false.

Why is it false? Because Virginia Code may say ‘electronically’ but NO such system exists today nor has it ever existed.
G.  Any person required to register shall reregister either in person or electronically with the local law-enforcement agency where his residence is located within 30 minutes following any change of the electronic mail address information, any instant message, chat or other Internet communication name or identity information that the person uses or intends to use, whether within or without the Commonwealth. If a probation or parole officer becomes aware of a change of the electronic mail address information, any instant message, chat or other Internet communication name or identity information for any of his probationers or parolees required to register, the probation or parole officer shall notify the State Police forthwith upon learning of the change. 

In fact, I have found Patrons 3 different years to fix VA Code to either change the 30 minutes to “3 business days”, “5 days” OR have the Virginia State Police finally create an electronic system (a dedicated email address) so that Virginia’s RSO’s don’t have to go in-person to register email changes within the mandated 30-minute time frame as it's almost impossible to not violate this law.

Here are those 3 Bills I’ve had Patroned:

Ø  2011- HB1628
- (Amended in House Militia, Police and Safety, left to die in House Appropriations)
Ø  2012- HB416 
- (“Laid on the table” instead of voting by the House Courts of Justice Criminal Sub-Committee)
Ø  2016-  SB243
- (Failed to Report 6-9, in Senate Courts of Justice) 

Not only did all 3 Bills fail to pass though the Virginia Legislature but they failed specifically because the Virginia State Police Legislative Liaisons opposed them.

Important Court decisions are being made in Virginia based on one word (electronically) in Virginia Code even though the State has never taken steps to implement such a system.
Oh and the Virginia Court of Appeals also listed a "high rate of recidivism" for Registered Sex Offenders as a reason for the 30 minute rule NOT being punitive. Yep, the Virginia Court of Appeals is repeating a debunked claim as fact.

I want everyone to contact the Virginia Governor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office TODAY.

Let them know that the recent decision in Baugh v Virginia was wrong because VA Code is inaccurate and it’s either time for the word ‘electronically’ to be removed from
§ 9.1-903. Registration procedures OR for the Virginia State Police to finally set-up an electronic system for Registered Sex Offenders to send in any email changes that then sends them a receipt that the change has been received by the VSP.

Virginia Governor’s Office:
https://governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/Communicating-with-the-governors-office
Thank you.

Mary Davye Devoy