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January 21, 2015

Should a court hearing be required anytime a registered sex offender seeks entry to a public school?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this notable article from Virginia headlined "ACLU questions new sex offender bill." Here are the details:

Their faces and address are already public, now one Virginia lawmaker wants registered sex offenders to face public hearings before going inside schools.  To have access to Virginia public schools, House Bill 1366 would require violent sex offenders to pay for a newspaper ad publicizing a personal court hearing.  It would run once a week for two weeks. Then anyone could attend the hearing and testify against them.

The bills author, Delegate Jeff Campbell, says it’s about safety, but the ACLU says it crosses the line of civil rights.  “The public hearing is simply an invitation for an angry mob to gather at a school and get in the way of a parent’s right to be involved in the education of his or her child,” said ACLU of Virginia’s Executive Director Claire Gastanaga.

Gastanaga said there is no real proof that registries and restrictions like this keep kids safer. He said the most direct impact of the bill would be on parents with kids in school who want to go and meet with the kids’ teachers.

Delegate Campbell disagrees: “I disagree totally, what it does is it gives parents of the other children a say in who is around their children.”... “The public’s right to know who is around their children and to have a say in whether they agree in that or not trumps that individual’s right to free access to the school,” he said.

Currently, sex offenders must inform school superintendents before they go inside a Virginia school. Delegate Campbell said there was an incident last year in Wise County where a parent did that and got permission to attend sporting events, but then started showing up to school at other times. Parents got upset and that is the reason for his bill.

A subcommittee unanimously passed the bill on Monday, but there is no set date yet for it to go before the full committee.

Because Virginia's court system is surely already pretty crowded, the burden this bill will create for state court personnel strikes me as significant and notable. A bit of research revealed that there are about 20,000 registered sex offenders in Virginia. Even if only 10% of that group has good reason to go to a public school each year, the Virginia court system is going to have to handle 2000 more annual hearing to consider (and supervise?) any school visit.

January 21, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Yes, of course. To preclude an inadequate representation claim on appeal, hire the Dream Team to defend, at $750 an hour each, at taxpayer expense. To be fair, have a trial, with under age girls testimony about the wonderfulness of the offender.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 21, 2015 1:20:38 PM

So the children of the sex offender will be publicly traumatized? Can I just move to Canada now?

But lets go with Jeff Campbell's reasoning.

* I want to know which parents own guns and enter a school building - because who knows if they forget to leave it at home or one of their kids might bring it to school.

* I want a hearing for all felons that want to enter the school building. Drug dealers should not be able to come in direct contact with my kids, nor drunk drivers and I'll decide about other felonies as they are published.

Posted by: Special | Jan 21, 2015 1:32:59 PM

First, let’s call this scheme for what it is… a punitive measure that intentionally impacts registrants’ ability to raise their children, as well as their civil rights.

The cost for an ad, at a minimum 2-line charge at $8.00 per line per day (cheapest I could find in VA), for 2 weeks, is 2 x 8 x 14, or $224.00 just to see the teacher about his kid’s progress, and THAT’S before court costs if there is a protest, which will run another $400 minimum. The guise here is that “this is not against sex offender’s right to petition the court,” but when it costs over $500, then it is clearly punitive. The ACLU should win this one hands down, IF the bill passes. I hope this bill is fought hard.

There are far better solutions, such as restricting parent teacher conferences to after school hours in the main office, or even scheduling such conferences at district headquarters or at other non-child-centric facilities. I mean, this is pathetic: why should a parent who has a vested interest in his children have to pay an exhorbitant fee just to placate the perceived fear and loathing by the pitchforks and torches sheeple?

But this law is about showboating, not about protection, as there has not been one case, EVER, about a parent attending a parent / teacher discussion who offended any child on campus during the visit. NOT ONE. It is a law disguised as a “public safety measure” that takes away significant resources from the children being affected, while enraging the populace even more. Nothing “safe” about that.

Please note: I am not against restrictions of registrants from campus if there is no reason for him or her to be there; ie, loitering or otherwise. But Parent/Teacher conferences, student productions, and student sporting events, where there is obviously far more accountability and public of the registrant's presence, should never be a factor. The "feelings" of other parents notwithstanding, a law that is based upon fallacies should never pass. And requiring a punitively financial and pitchforks and torches circus is not at all in the best interest of the community.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jan 21, 2015 3:40:16 PM

This protect children "at all costs" nonsense is getting tiresomely predicable.

The following excerpt has no resemblance to sanity:

elegate Campbell disagrees: “I disagree totally, what it does is it gives parents of the other children a say in who is around their children.”... “The public’s right to know who is around their children and to have a say in whether they agree in that or not trumps that individual’s right to free access to the school.

Just one problem with that, bub. When an individual(s) elects to have said child (sic) children, the parents assumes and shoulders full weight and responsibility for the safety and welfare of their own children. That burden is non-transferable through strict liability unto those that don't owe worrywart parents a civil debt. The presumption of risk simply cannot be used as an excuse alone for the curtailment of one's movements. Freedom of movement is preeminent and all-compassing in regards to ALL private citizens and civilians.

Posted by: Lance Mitaro | Jan 21, 2015 4:17:11 PM

First what is the definition of a sex offender.

A 17 yr old boy that had consensual sex with his 16 yr old girl friend she got pregnant.

Same boy had oral sex with his girl.

An 18 yr old or 40 yr that took a wiz in the woos of a golf coarse, but the was a plaground around the corner 800 ft away.

A 30 yr old woman who had sex with an 88 yr old man. Gold digger. Heart attack.

Nobody has any BALLS when it comes to defining who needs to be on a registry.

Therefore the registry sucks and should burned, right along with the federal guidelines.

My .02 worth.

Posted by: 187Midwest Guy | Jan 21, 2015 9:03:09 PM

"...a punitive measure that intentionally impacts registrants’ ability to raise their children, as well as their civil rights."

Eric.

Oh, heck, no. I predict the overwhelming majority of predators will be allowed into the schools, with a tax funded escort. However, the hearing will generate $hundreds in fees for three lawyers, one to prosecute, one to defend, one to come to the foregone verdict. This is a straight lawyer bunko scheme to steal money from the tax payer. Absolutely worthless to safety. Because the offenders will not have jobs, and be destitute, the taxpayer will be forced to pay for the ads, you bemoan.

Naturally, you stinking defense lawyers will never, ever, ever, demand a Daubert or Frye hearing. You will never attack the other side, demand total e-discovery of the prosecution computers let alone of the filthy lawyer in the middle, certainly not of the legislators handing you this worthless government make work job.

You stink. You are not idiots. You are disloyal to the client and straight out thieves of tax money. I strongly urge that all defendants hire a lawyer malpractice specialist to terrorize these traitors daily into carrying their most basic duties to the client, and professionalism. They have no pride, no shame. They are mere message carriers for the prosecutors. Traitors to the client.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 21, 2015 11:19:42 PM

Since sex crimes are most likely to be occurred by persons known to the victim (I'm talking serious sex crimes not mooning), I don't get it

It's legal and acceptable in society for sex offenders to be around,care for, and live with their own children and future children, so I presume "IF THEY AREN'T CONSIDERED A THREAT TO THEIR OWN CHILDREN, IT'S EVEN MORE COMPELLING THAT THEY AREN'T A THREAT TO THEIR NON-CHILDREN".

By the way, how come drug dealers, burglars,and gang members don't have a registry, aren't they a threat to "school safety"? Where's the US marshalls and its touted press releases saying they are benefiting the public.
I think the word sex gets politicians votes.

Posted by: Morgan | Jan 22, 2015 11:11:39 AM

Comes down to this.......Jim Crow laws

Also comes down to this.......A politician looking for a way to get a vote.

Politicians will do ANYTHING for a vote.......Always remember that!!!!!!!!!

Politicians are why we still have the registry and all the trouble the SORNA law cause.

Posted by: Book38 | Jan 22, 2015 5:03:47 PM

Book38:

You know what is really funny (actually, it is tragic and why we are going to hell in a handbasket), is that the politicians who supported Megan's Law, Kennedy and Foley, supported by John Walsh and Signed into law by Clinton, should ALL be on the registry.

Posted by: albeed | Jan 22, 2015 9:59:32 PM

I hope that they apply this to pedophile priests in public and private schools. Pedophile priests should be sent to Gitmo.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Jan 22, 2015 11:43:23 PM

I would sooner pay for 50 people to put a bullet into this neonazi's empty head then spend 1 dime for a paper.

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 22, 2015 11:56:21 PM

albeed:

Your exactly right!!! all of those you mentioned should also be on the very Sex Offender Registry that THEY voted for......and yet none of them are. They are privileged because they are (P.O.L.I.T.I.C.I.A.N.S.)

The biggest one is Foley, and he runs free today in Florida. Go look on YouTube and see for yourself what he did with the Pages.

It does not take a person with a high IQ to understand that SORNA is a great big money maker. It's a cash cow!

Judges have privilege of making an interpretation of a statute "IF" the statue can be proven vague or against the state and/or U.S. Constitution.

Judges need to start ending this shit hole of a law.....and all of you know how.

Posted by: Book38 | Jan 23, 2015 3:41:08 PM

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