Friday, February 9, 2018

Action Item for EVERYONE! 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.

See March 17, 2018 Update:

At the end of January the Court of Appeals of Virginia made a ruling that a specific Virginia Sex Offender Registry  law (mandate/requirement) is NOT punitive.

I only learned of this ruling yesterday when I found this article on VA Lawyers Weekly that I was unable to read because I don’t have a subscription Sex offender registry law not punitive

Here is the  court ruling it’s only 13 pages long, it’s easy to read and I suggest EVERY VA RSO and the loved one of any RSO read it.

It’s on 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 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, the Secretary of Public Safety 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 send them a receipt that the change has been received by the VSP.

Every years VA General Assembly session the Administration (the Governor, the Secretary of Public Safety and the Attorney General) have Legislative Agendas where Bills are patroned by Delegates and Senators per the Administration’s request. If there is no funding for the State Police to implement an electronic system in 2018, then the Virginia Administration needs to remove the language from VA Code at the next (2019) General Assembly session.

Virginia Governor’s Office:
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security’s Office:

Thank you.

Mary Davye Devoy