Public Comments for 01/20/2023 Courts of Justice - Subcommittee #1
HB1452 - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit; appointment of sworn unit investigators to Unit, powers and duties.
I have worked in nursing homes and we absolutely need this law to protect elderly folks on medicaid. Local DSS units deem nursing homes a safe placement under their regs, so if there is an accusation of abuse, neglect or stealing someone's funds, adult protective services doesn't generally go after it. The local law enforcement is often not able to take it on either. What we really need are investigators who actually understand how medicaid works and what abuse of the elderly looks like. It is a huge problem, and we really need all the help we can get.
Please Vote NO on HB1452. This bill creates a Medicaid Fraud law enforcement investigating arm of the Attorney General's office. Thirty new law enforcement officers with badges and uniforms and the ability to investigate any "ancillary" criminal offense. This bill could subject families and recipients to overly aggressive tactics by the Attorney General's office. This bill does not expressly limit the investigations into activities by providers. The bill should be limited to investigations of providers and expressly state that the office does not investigate recipients and their families. There is no justification for the financial cost of 30 new state law enforcement officers with vested benefits. This will discourage professionals from becoming Medicaid providers by creating more barriers and red tape. This bill further harasses families and caregivers with the uncertain threat of law enforcement demanding cooperation with any vague ancillary criminal investigations. Please VOTE NO on HB1452
Dear Members of the House Courts of Justice Subcommittee #1, Please VOTE NO on HB1452. This bill creates a police force in the Attorney General's office to investigate Medicaid fraud. Protect families and limit any law enforcement investigation to providers, not recipients. As a family member of a recipient, it is hard enough getting approved for long-term care Medicaid services and go through multiple evaluations and continuous monitoring with our local and state agencies. Please do not make our lives and the ones we care for any more difficult. Thank you and please VOTE NO on HB1452. Sincerely, Nicole Miller Chapter Operations Manager Autism Society Tidewater Virginia
HB1584 - Biological evidence; storage, preservation, and retention of evidence in felony cases.
HB1603 - Enhanced earned sentence credits; firearm-related offense, felony conviction during confinement.
NO- I do not support this bill! Excluding anyone is prejudice! Men/woman are working hard to change their life and you continue to strip all hope of that!
I ask that you vote "NO" to move to pass this piece of legislation into law. I feel that this is an unjust way of undoing the bill that was passed in 2020 by the previous administration to help unite families. Many inmates were given calculation sheets stating they were being released early due to the credit. Many of these families had prepared for them to be released only to find out the rug was pulled from under them at the last minute. It was absolutely cruel and disheartening not to destroy the hope and dreams of these families but now you want to ensure inmates do not receive any credit at all. Under the previous administration had this been a factor it would have never made it into law. I strongly feel that a lot is this undoing is financially motivated to line the pockets of politicians that have times to the prison system.
We should be giving incarcerated people an opportunity to better themselves in the process of working towards something that will significantly affect their future. Many of our incarcerated friends are serving ridiculously long sentences for something they did at a young age - the human brain doesn’t fully develop until a persons mid twenties. We’re talking about people who made mistakes at a young age who will never be able to show how they’ve grown - people should be given the opportunity to use our prison systems as they were originally intended: To rehabilitate and learn from their mistakes. Putting a restriction on who is able to earn their way back to a normal life is unfair and unjust
No! I’m against this bill
No. Stop this bill
No! PLEASE STOP THIS BILL
I hope you all will vote NO against this bill. My husband has been incarcerated 22 years since the age of 18. He went in as a immature kid. He has double stacked use of firearms with a felony and got 3 years each which gave a extra 6 years for his crime he already got 20 years for and has completed that "violent" time. Many have similar double stacked charges if not more for this same offense and it's not right! Please be VOTE NO FOR HB1603. Thank You!
I left a comment but the page shut down so I'm not sure if it was sent. I apologize if this is a duplicate. Please vote no to exclusions of earned time credits for the incarcerated. We need real rehabilitation not mass incarceration. These individuals are further traumatized by a broken system. When this bill was repealed it stripped hundreds of people of their right to freedom and plans they had made with their families for jobs, travel, weddings, and reunions. The lawsuits stemming from this will cost thousands of taxpayer dollars. Please reinstate what was already granted. People deserve the right to rehabilitate and earn good time. That's the whole point of the incarceration rehabilitation system is it not? By saying that inmates cannot earn good time, they're basically stating that their rehabilitation efforts are a failure. (Which they mostly are any way) take time to talk to prisoners about what really goes on behind the bars and walls of the prison system. The drugs are brought in by the guards. The guards are having sex with the inmates. There are drugs everywhere throughout the prison system, gangs, horrible violence, corruption. Inmates will not talk about what is really happening for fear of retaliation by both the institution and other inmates. We need an immense and complete overhaul of the department of corrections in Virginia. We need mental health treatment, substance use treatment and trauma treatment. Not further violence and solitary confinement and having them living in fear of being attacked 24/7.
Please vote NO on #1603. It would be so unfair to exclude persons.
I oppose this bill, for so many reasons! I believe everyone EVERYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO EARN ESC credits no matter what the crime is because it restores Hope encourages people to take classes and work hard to improve themselves and gives them some extra reasons to rehabilitate themselves! I also am a victim of a serious crime unfortunate the man that robbed me was never charged ! But if he was I would have agreed with him earning extra credits for turning his life around! This is bad Legislation … I’m not an attorney, but a lot of you are and I don’t understand how you don’t see that this bill would open up the opportunity for so many to file lawsuits against the state of Virginia and cost taxpayers millions of dollars!
I represent the Valley Justice Coalition and we strongly oppose this bill. According to the Impact Statement for HB1603, there will be a cost of over a half million dollars EACH year in preparation for the lawsuits the bill is expected to generate. Assuming the State will lose at least some of these lawsuits, this could eventually cost taxpayers millions of dollars. As your constituents, we are appalled that you have such little regard for taxpayers' dollars. Vote NO against HB1603.
I write to ask you vote NO on HB 1603. The bill as written would unfairly affect many people who deserve an earlier release than this provides. In particular, I note that in paragraph 18 it would reduce the available sentencing credits for ANY felony “involving a firearm” – regardless of the circumstances. This is far too broad and would unjustly deny many people a chance at earlier release who pose no threat to society. It is not unusual for someone to be charged with a felony “involving a firearm” even if the firearm was NOT part of the crime at issue but, for instance, simply located in a dwelling or car where an arrest took place. Moreover, there are still a good number of felonies that are based on marijuana that involve circumstances likely to be legal in the near future. Being incarcerated and having a loved one incarcerated is emotionally, mentally and physically damaging. The current Earned Sentence Credit Bill that is active and in place now, is fair. It already disqualifies violent offenders. Serving more jail time should not be the answer. Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter. Alexis Laplace Woodbridge, VA 22192
I would like for you to hear me please. I was molested at the age of 5 years old, because my mother wanted her drugs amd men more than me. I was 10 years when I started using drugs and alcohol. By 11 I was told by my grandmother where my mom was so I Hitch hike from. CHICAGO to Cleveland to find her. I dropped out of school in the 6th grade the streets taught me how to read and write. The state trooper picked me up and did a APB for my mom. When found she told them that's not my child you can do whatever you want with her. Now I'm homeless, on drugs amd my parents doesn't want me. I remember being in that bathroom when a GROWN man forced me on my knees and said to me " You're not a little girl anymore you are a grown woman. For 2 weeks in that apartment all the men had their way with me. Now I was being sexually exploited. For 31 years I lived this way. I walked around with 8 pairs of socks because I never had any shoes. My childhood was taken away from me. I can never get that back. There are so many young kids out there who can be saved save them. As of August 6th 2010 which is my date of Grace 2019 I got my High school diploma, graduated college with my associates degree in social work in 2022, I am a publisher author of 31 Years in the Desert, many accomplishments. I will never be able to have children physically this is another reason I stand and not be silent. After 31 Years of hell I walk with my head held high. Something needs to be done to the sex traffickers, not the victims. Why should we be punished with felony records, can't get housing in a neighborhood like you live in. I had to pay double rent because I had prostitution charges. Where is the justice? I hope whoever reads this finds it in their hearts to make the right decisions moving forward. Thank you Castanita Fitzpatrick A Butterfly Gets Her Wings Back LLC. 214.535.3034 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vote NO to HB1603! The Earned Sentence Credit bill was studied, investigated, vetted & debated twice and what came from that was a law with the ability to highlight those who have taken full advantage of all programs & requirements of their incarceration & EXCEL! The disgraceful budget amendment stripped enough away. It broke people’s hearts inside and outside of the prison walls, but now this is an attempt to further punish someone who is already serving their time honorably and have made valuable changes to themselves before they knew they could get ESC, and they deserve to be credited what they worked so hard for! Do you realize this makes prison less safe by continually excluding and taking things away from people who have EARNED their good time? It is not given to them, it is EARNED. Put yourself in their shoes for one second! Imagine working hard for no reason at all other than to benefit yourself, being promised you would be rewarded when you least expected it, and then watching quietly while it is snatched away from you! They have no voice right now, but I do! They are not the sum of their worst day but the product of learned lessons through life, maturity & growth achieved while serving their time. VOTE NO!
I absolutely and unequivocally DO NOT support this bill.
I think its appalling that you are attempting to take away EARNED sentencing credits from men and women who has done their fiduciary duties to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated. Lawmakers has got to stop singling out individuals based on their offenses and allow them to be seen and deemed rehabilitated for who they are today. The sentencing credits is not a point system given to an individual, it's a system that's earned through hard work, dedication and mindset changes in behavior over years of incarceration. I OPPOSE this bill that would attempt to remove the right for these men and women to receive credits they have earned by remaining infraction free and are not deemed a threat to public safety. Please vote NO for this bill of legislation.
ESC- is a bill that was give then pulled back at the hands of our government, our jails and prisons are overcrowded, understaffed and more over these men and women deserve to have the opportunity for less time after sentencing, DOC is the worlds second largest industry we are manufacturing Criminals more than all other countries combined yet we say we are the land of the free… I believe this bill will provide structure but also allow reduced sentences by credits earned Im in support of this bills it will not only help the incarcerated people but their families who suffer behind incarceration
Pleaae vote no. This isn't fair to no violent offenders who have rehabilitated and changed their lives completely. My husband has served nearly 25 years in the VADOC, and this will hinder his chances of coming hime early. Not everyone who receives a firearm charge is violent. If you review a lot of cases, you will see that sometimes, they were given a firearm charge because of a circumstantial event or the way the charges were filed. It's not always because they were violent people. This needs to be reviewed and reworded, if nothing else. Please, consider the people who deserve to go home, and the families that need them??? Please vote NO!??
I cannot begin to express the level of intelligence and maturity of this individual but the fact that he has turned his life around speaks for itself he pushes nothing but encouragement, love, and peace into the world. I am humbly asking for his release as he does not deserve to be punished and persecuted in innocence. I can guarantee within his release he will have nothing but a heavy positive effect on those around him and the general community he deserves to live a normal life he deserves to work a job and be there for his children and grandchildren. He has served more than enough time of sufferation at the hands of the Virginia department of corrections when is enough, enough? When has a man paid his debt? Take my words and the fact that he has been reforming for the last 20 years from any negative habits or behaviors he once portrayed into consideration. Sincerely Anderson,
Vote NO to HB1603. VADOC's main goal and focus should be rehabilitation. Taking away the opportunity for incarcerated men and woman to earn reduced time for working towards being better is wrong. Some are actually taking the time to better themselves. Have families to come home to, children they have sadly missed important milestones, so many factors that make a person to strive to be better. No one knows what the full circumstances are when a person committed any crime. We as community members in the commonwealth need to be proactive in helping these men and woman get home where they belong. Let's also include the terrible language of this bill. Inmates have no access to firearms while in confinement, so where does that language apply? There ARE so MANY errors with this bill proposal. Also, you have majority of inmates who have mixed charges, so non firearm related charges are still eligible. OR does the 1 charge that is firearm related reduce to zero? I think there should be concrete clarification on all points of this bill. Until all things are clarified and written without any confusion this is a definite NO
Please Vote No & Do Not support this bill. Not all people who have been convicted are violent. It’s unfair to someone who has worked hard to turn their life around, to be denied a chance at early release..
I oppose this. I believe people deserve a second chance and should be rehabilitated so they can come home to their families
Thier are thousands of inmates that got a boat load of time they don't deserve, People can and do change their lives..
I DO NOT support HB 1603.
Please vote NO. If a person is behaving enough to earn good time they should be allowed to have it. Thank you
I would like you to vote no on this bill as taking away good time essentially takes away the hope of the imprisoned. It isn't ethical or right at all.
I'm writing to you all on behalf of my husband, Marcus Conrad Ingram, Inmate #1090850 in the Virginia Department of Corrections. Mr. Ingram has been incarcerated for over 17 years, having been sentenced to a total of 32 years for armed robbery with mace in 3 jurisdictions. Because he had mace, his charges of put him in the “violent offender” category, therefore he isn't eligible for Earned Sentence Credits yet, but I'm hoping this bill will be such that he qualifies. No one was seriously injured during the robberies, and while we agree that incarceration was necessary, 32 years is more than excessive. The sentencing Judge, Judge Weckstein, said he was going to “make an example of” Mr. Ingram, and sentenced him to 32 years. After his original sentence, Mr. Ingram’s lawyer filed a motion to reduce his sentence on 6/19/07, again outlining the conditions under which Mr. Ingram was suffering at the time of the crimes, to include major depressive disorder, alcohol abuse, ajd drug abuse. Mr. Ingram is extremely remorseful for his actions and can be a valuable member of society if given the chance. He's missed most of his children's lives and has certainly been humbled by his experience. He has employable skills, job offers lined up, and a stable home environment with me upon his release.
Being the man home to his family
Please vote NO!!?? everyone deserves a second chance, and people change. Not all firearms charges are violent.
HB 1603. I’m voting no! If these inmates have been given “good time”, they should be allowed to keep it whether you stop adding to it or not. Some have worked very hard to try to get back to society, families and friends. Please don’t hinder the ones who are successfully going through their incarceration without incident! Thank you.
I think they should vote against this. This bill is hindering thousands of people from receiving their good time and getting them back home to their families whom miss and love them dearly!
Statistically speaking Virginia has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country. However incarcerated men and women, many who are black and brown, remain imprisoned under unfathomable conditions. Despite these circumstances these same men and women have worked hard to EARN their good time by staying infraction free, participating in programs, and overall changing their lives around. Please be a voice for the preferably unheard and recognize that HB 1603 is NOT the answer to curbing violent crimes involving firearms. Vote NO today!
My fiance got sentence to 5 years in prison. He will be out in 2025. I want him to get out early for good behavior. He hasn't been in any trouble since he been in prison. I need him out & give him a chance.
Attached you will find my speech that I hope you will consider prior to todays meeting. Thank you.
Please, vote NO!??? Not everyone convinced of a firearm offense is violent. To categorize them all as violent, is ridiculous, and unfair. There are thousands of families who need their loved ones home. There are thousands of men and women who have been over sentenced because of a firearm charge. Please consider the men and women affected by this decision. The families torn apart, the financial burden, the incarcerated individuals who have served 20, 30, and 40 year in the VADOC, who deserves a second chance, and deserve to be reunited with their families, but are hindered from doing so, because of the language, and labeling in this bill. Please ask yourself, if this is how you would want to be labeled and treated, if you made a poor choice as, a teenager??? ... Or if your son, daughter, or loved one was locked away with no hope for 30, 40, or 50 years. ESC was earned, and taking it away from people who have earned it, is unfair, unconscionable, and cruel. Please, let our loved ones have a chance to come home?? Thank you.
Not everyone convinced of a firearm offense is violent. To categorize them all as violent, is ridiculous, and unfair. There are thousands of families who need their loved ones home. There are thousands of men and women who have been over sentenced because of a firearm charge. Please consider the men and women affected by this decision. The families torn apart, the financial burden, the incarcerated individuals who have served 20, 30, and 40 year in the VADOC, who deserves a second chance, and deserve to be reunited with their families, but are hindered from doing so, because of the language, and labeling in this bill. Please ask yourself, if this is how you would want to be labeled and treated, if you made a poor choice as, a teenager??? ... Or if your son, daughter, or loved one was locked away with no hope for 30, 40, or 50 years. ESC was earned, and taking it away from people who have earned it, is unfair, unconscionable, and cruel. Please, let our loved ones have a chance to come home??
Please vote NO FOR HB1603 - we should be including more people to have the chance to earn their way home sooner! Prison is about rehabilitation and growing and learning from past mistakes, give our loved ones the chance to show that they’ve grown! It’s called EARNED sentence credits for a reason!!!
Hello, I am one of the founders and Executive Director of Ignite Justice, a local non-profit organization that works with incarcerated individuals and their families. I’m here today to ask you to vote no to House Bill 1603, which will amend and reenact the Earned Sentence Credit. Virginia consistently has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the country. According to recidivism studies including ones conducted by the Virginia Department of Corrections, individuals with violent crimes as their most serious offense are far less likely to re-offend than non-violent. Earned good time credit can increase accountability and rehabilitation. It has been shown that incentives like increased earned good time, leads to increased participation in programs, which in turn further decreases recidivism rates and increases safety at correctional facilities. It is difficult to remain infraction-free inside of these prisons and they have done that. This is earned good time. Earned good time credit can increase accountability and rehabilitation. In my over 10 years of experience working with incarcerated individuals, I have learned that people are capable of great change. The men and women who will be affected by this bill, have shown that they have changed. They have worked hard to rehabilitate themselves and to come back into society. I have seen men and women who served their time come home and make a deep impact in their communities, working to prevent the next generation from following the same path. These are the types of men and women we are keeping inside of prisons by passing this bill. This bill is purely punitive. Again I’m asking this committee to vote no to this bill. Thank you, Jennifer Dalton Founder/ Executive Director email@example.com 804-485-3314
My husband is incarcerated for a robbery charge in which nobody was hurt and no weapon was involved but because it is a robbery charge he is excluded and considered a violent criminal. Our 16 year old son and only child was murdered over the summer and this is some thing neither my husband or I should be dealing with alone and away from each other. I need my husband home with me. He has remained out of trouble and done what he is supposed to be doing. And I can speak from both sides and I can tell you right now the person who killed our son if he does his time changes his life for the better and feels remorse then I am absolutely okay with him being let out earlier if he has done everything he is supposed to do and earned that chance. People change just like people make mistakes and learn from them.
My name is Alison Chaffin, I am a special education teacher and higher education professor. I have a passion for prison reform due to the school to prison pipeline. Also, I have a loved one who has served 6 years in his incarceration. But this is not who he is. He is a father, a son, a brother and a member of his community. I'm asking today to please not support HB 1603. The state of the carceral system in Virginia makes it extremely difficult to remain infraction free, these men and women have worked hard to prepare themselves to come, and by that very fact shown that they have changed and earned the right to a second chance. Virginia is one of the highest states to incarcerate our black men and women. This is racist bill that will continue to disproportionately affect our black men and women and our children. Like Reverend Jerome Barber said in the opening, “let’s be a voice for the voiceless” and vote no for HB 1603. Let Virginia lead the way in closing the school to prison pipeline and encourage our men and women behind bars to reform. Thank you.
Please vote NO FOR HB1603 we should be including more people to have the chance to earn yes I WROTE EARN a chance to come home a little sooner!
My name is Emily Shelton. I am the founder of Ignite Justice, a non profit organization that focuses on the incarcerated population and their families. I also am a mother and a wife of someone incarcerated. Supporting earned sentence credits as an incentive provides active accountability, recognizes rehabilitative progress, and contributes to both a constructive correctional culture and gives an offender a positive goal. Research shows that offering these incentives has increased the successful completion of community supervision, participation in programming, decreases our prisons population, improves prison conduct, and contributes to system-wide fiscal savings. Studies also show that earned sentence credit benefits the community by reducing recidivism rates and improving post-release employment opportunities. At this time i am requesting you do not pass hb 1603 and give all violent offenders the opportunity to earn time off their sentencing to help them be productive in society. Thank You, Emily Shelton Ignite Justice-Founder firstname.lastname@example.org 804-326-4414
HB1687 - Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry; expands the Supplement to the Registry.
The Commonwealth through its unmanaged Supplemental Registry continues to publicly malign citizens for a crime committed in the distant past. Expanding the unmanaged registry in no way enhances public safety. The issue is the publication of the § 9.1-923. Supplement to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry required by the 2015 memorial "Robby's Rule" law. Virginia State Police makes no attempt to manage the list. Even from its initial publication, the supplement has included deceased citizens. It still lists numerous decedents. Expanding the Supplement serves no public safety purpose. The original Supplement never did. It was another wasteful attempt at government to pacify one victim. The attached recommendation would better serve the Commonwealth.
The registry is morally and ethically WRONG. This is punishment until someone is dead and then it still never ends. The registry destroys families and communities and has never shown to keep anyone "safe'. With the "no victim" sting cases, put on by ICAC, we have incentivized policing. Collars for dollars. This needs to be stopped. Disband the registry.
There is ZERO evidence that the sex offender registry protects anyone, especially children. There is more evidence that it does more harm than good creating vigilante acts and harming children who may be stigmatized if they live in a home with a parent or grandparent who is forced to register their address. It also wastes valuable resources which could be used to prevent and provide help to victims/survivors. Expanding it would only further harm children and families and create a false sense of security considering that 95% of these crimes involving children are NOT committed by anyone previously convicted of this type of crime. Not to mention the fact that we are robbing men and women who have served their time of due process considering the registry was not created when they took pleas or were convicted. And regardless of what fear-mongering politicians and judges claim, the registry is PUNISHMENT and no less than DOUBLE JEOPARDY. I am a retired elementary public school teacher and dedicated my life to educating and protecting children and I can attest to the fact that the registry has never protected any child! Even Patti Wetterling, who pushed for a registry after a horrific crime to her precious son, Jacob, has publicly stated that the registry does more harm than good. Please reject this bill and focus on real protection and prevention strategies.
I oppose this bill for many reasons, the registry . 1. It provides no true safety for our community 2. The Virginia State Police is understaffed and can barley keep up with newly convicted individuals with a sexual offense. 3. The individuals who have a sexual offense fron29 years ago with no prior reoffending with an actual victim is x- post facto 4. The Registry cost tax payers millions of dollars and the facts are that anyone on a registry more than ten years is highly unlikely to re-offend less than 1% percent 5. We the tax payers should be spending money on education of our children reguarding what an actual sex offense is and how easy it is to get placed on a registry. I oppose this bill because it’s a waste of money and will provide no safety within our community if these men and women have never been on a registry why place them there now?? Do you think it makes the world safer?? Most of these people have lived decades without being on a registry and there involvement in the community has been good they wasn’t a public safety hazard then and they are not one now.
The current situation with the sex offender registry is horrendous. Those on it forfeit a normal life ad infinitum. What is the point of bestowing this great lifestyle upon older people who have not reoffended? I am interested as to why this bill has been brought up. What is the purpose of such a bill? Thank you.
This is unconstitutional. You can't retroactively add punishment to a crime decades after it has been tried and the sentence imposed by the judge. Putting someone on the sex offender registry IS PUNISHMENT. Therefore, you can't add people to the registry after their sentencing.
We write in opposition to any enhancement to the dubious, unnecessary, and dysfunctional Sex Offender Registry. 1). No study supports efficacy of the Registry. None. The American Legal institute has posited that no one should be on the registry for term greater than 10 years. The lowest bar in VA right now is 15 years. 2). Registry does not reduce recividism. AT BEST it is a feel good system, expensive, and uwieldy. 3). When one finishes one's time, that should be the effective end of punishment, but it is not. 4). The registry creates stigma and discrimination, effectively making those so placed as wards of the state. 5). There is no benefit for going farther in to the past to punish someone. 6). The registry makes no distinction between those who committed acts, and those, like me and others, who did not. If a police officer or prosecutor makes the case that you did it, that is often good enough for a court. There is no redress all ready in VA Law. The Sex Offender Registry is an additional burden top of all the rights, monies, retirement, damage to family and reputation, and worse. Where is there EVIDENCE that making matters worse yields better results? When has punishing even more resulted in good outcomes? This bill msut be defeated, as it does nothing more than lead by ignorance, fear, loathing, and assumptions which are often misguided or entirely unwarranted, if not utter falsehoods. Where is the Justice? Norman M. Achin
HB1838 - Child Pornography Registry; required information.
Efforts to curb the creation and dissemination of child pornography should be strongly supported. Numerous law enforcement agencies routinely employ tactics that lie to the public, e.g., pretending to be a minor in order to entrap an adult. Including the hash values of images may enable all parties to have a clearer understanding of who is producing and distributing new images. The primary objective should be to eliminate as much child pornography as possible, not to maintain a robust directory of these images to be routinely viewed by law enforcement.
HB1908 - Criminal proceedings; disposition when defendant found incompetent.
HB1923 - Minors; admission to mental health facility for inpatient treatment.
HB1455 It is imperative that this bill be passed. Too many people are dieing because of this illicit drug. Our future voters/leaders are being slaughtered by the makers and distributers of this drug. By any definition the making/distribution of this drug is a blantent act of domestic terrorism and should be dealt with accordingly. The only way to get this terrible drug epidemic stopped is to severely punish those that are manufacturing/ distributing this horrible, murderous drug. Please send a message to those that are manufacturing / distributing this horrible drug, that thier actions will not be tolerated. That society as a whole can not condone their actions. Please vote to move this bill forward..our children are suffering, with out your help many will not make it to adulthood. HB 1923 I don't understand how a minor has the mental capacity to refuse inpatient treatment for mental health issues. Is it not a parents/adult job to make decisions on behalf of minors? Minors can not vote, serve in the military or run for political office because we have determined that they do not have the mental capacity to do these things, yet they are allowed to determine whether they need to be admitted to an inpatient mental health facility. How is it that the current law gives a minor these rights and stripes the power away from the parents. As their parents it is our job to insure their future. Please give us the tools we need to do our job to the best of our ability. Move this bill forward, give our children the opportunity to become our future leaders. Thank you
My son was 10 days older than Makayla and as a parent I would want every tool available to me to provide him treatment if needed. Treatment could have prevented the tragic death of Makayla. There is a reason why you have to be 18 to vote, serve in the military, buy lottery tickets, get a tattoo, serve on jury duty, purchase spray paint, purchase cough syrup or create a will. I can add many other things to that list. The point is at 15 or 16 years old you may not have the capacity to consent. Give a parent the opportunity to seek treatment for their child. By taking away the parents rights, you are harming the child. We could have celebrated Makayla's 17th birthday with her two weeks ago in person. Instead, we celebrated Makayla's birthday with her family and friends with an urn in her seat at the restaurant.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 18 years of experience working with adolescents and adults wrestling with severe mental illness as well as substance use and addiction. I have worked with addiction and recovery from school to acute hospital settings. While I recognize the risk family members pose for individuals 14 and 15 year old and older trying to get self guided help for their identified issues, there are a larger number of interventions available to hold others responsible for wrongdoing if necessary. Developmentally, individuals ages 14 and 15 do not have the full capacity to make an insightful decision regarding their self care. According to Erik Erickson, Developmental Psychologist and pioneer of the 8 Psychosocial Stages Of Development, an individual ages 14-15 is still in the stage of "Identity Vs. Role Confusion". It is at this critical stage that individuals begin to develop a stronger sense of self and confidence in the decision making they have. It is also fair to say that a majority of professionals in this line of work would acknowledge that the impacts of trauma during this stage would lead to a strong sense of role confusion as the child has had a significant experience that has negatively impacted their ability to form a healthy identify and therefore make healthy decisions. With such a delay, it is imperative that the helpers and supporters of the child provide guidance in re-establishing a healthier sense of identity. None would argue that use of substances such as Fentanyl or even chronic alcohol or THC use would significantly impact the development of identity, if not be even deemed as traumatizing due to the significant mental impairment it brings. When combined with severe mental illness, the results could be catastrophic. It is during these times we as professionals, parents, and supporters need to assist the child in making healthy care decisions in order to return to a healthy self development. It is my professional opinion that HB 1923 be approved in order to provide parents access to the help and support thy need to find treatment and care for their children. It is then up to the treatment professionals to work and advocate for their identified client in order to achieve they healthiest level of functioning possible. HB1923 removes potentially fatal and life altering barriers to finding treatment for children in need. I can provide more examples and personal experiences wrestling to find help for individuals of this age with no success due to the false sense of empowerment afforded to those minors experiencing trauma and trauma inducing experiences with no guidance on healthy decision making.
I am in favor of this bill for so many reasons. My granddaughter, Makayla, was lost to the opioid and fentanyl epidemics plaguing our country a few short days after her 16th birthday. Makayla's mother discovered that Makayla, age 15, was experimenting with opioids in December 2021. She, as most parents would, sought treatment for her child at an in-patient facility. As Makayla discovered, she was able to refuse treatment. Less than six weeks later, Makayla was gone. Would treatment have prevented this loss? We will never know because at 15, Makayla was allowed to make such a critical, and as it turned out, life and death decision. It boggles my mind that at the age of 15, children cannot drive without permission from their parents. They must, by law, attend school. They are not allowed to vote, legally buy or use tobacco products or alcohol, or join the armed forces. Why? Because at 14 and 15 years of age they do not have the mental capacity to do so. However, by current standards, they can refuse treatment that, by doing so, could have life altering or in Makayla's case, life ending consequences. I plead with you to vote HB1923 into law. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Good Afternoon Chair and Committee members, My name is Jennifer Spangler. I live with bipolar disorder and am an advocate for independence from family of origin because my father, whom I rarely speak to, can make changes to my treatment without a HIPPA release. Historically people with disabilities are likened to children. This stigma exists today. When it comes to mental health we know something is wrong before anyone else. Telling someone about that needs to be encouraged. For individuals like myself who don't have a safe home this is unhelpful. I understand the intent of this bill. But I will leave you with a few questions. 1) How many children in your district have you heard from on this issue. 2) How many children's testimony would it take for you to change your mind. 3) If keeping the child's concern in confidence could prevent suicide, would that change your mind. I am happy to have the chance to my daughter in a way more aligned with my beliefs. I came to that belief because I experienced harmful help growing up. As policymakers I hope you will begin to consider protecting the vulnerable children like myself who need allies but cannot find them at home.
I am Dr. Dimal Shah, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist practicing in Richmond, VA. In order to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I completed four years of medical school, three years of adult psychiatry training, and two years of child and adolescent psychiatry training. I treat children and adolescents in a clinic setting, emergency room setting, and inpatient psychiatric hospital setting. I am here representing Psychiatric Society of Virginia to oppose House Bill 1923 because it limits the autonomy and hinders care of 14 and 15 year old patients seeking mental health care. I recently treated a 15 year old girl who came to the emergency room with severe depression and thoughts of suicide who recently cut herself several times with a knife. She wanted to get treatment in an acute inpatient psychiatric hospital. However, patient's mother did not agree this level of treatment. It turned out the mother did not know the severity of her daughter's depression and recent thoughts and actions. After engaging the patient in a therapeutic manner, she was willing to disclose the situation to her mother with me in the room. This was the first step in her treatment process - taking initiative to vocalize her thoughts and feelings to her parent. In psychiatric terms, this is behavioral activation, a therapeutic approach commonly used to treat depression. After this disclosure, the mother was completely onboard with hospitalization and the girl felt empowered by her actions and started to feel a sense of hope for her future. She was later admitted to an inpatient psychiatric hospital under voluntary status. If HB 1923 passes, patients 14-15 years old would not have the autonomy to seek out inpatient psychiatric treatment, which ultimately could lead to worsening suicide rates and more severe psychiatric illnesses when arriving to the emergency room for treatment. Those forced to enter inpatient psychiatric hospitalization against their will are more likely not to follow up with long term treatment, which may include medications and therapy. Thank you for your time.
In reference to bill HB1923 A minor child should not have the legal authority to determine whether or not they have to seek treatment. A child 14 years of age does not have the mental capacity to fully understand the impact on their health and well being. You are an adult when you are 18 years of age, you can vote, join our military etc. but it is a parent’s responsibility to house, feed, provide medical care to their children. As a mother I should have the right to seek treatment for my children. Whether it be for mental health reasons, drug abuse reason or so be it . If we allow children to refuse treatment we will sadly see more teen suicides, accidental drugging from prescription medication and sadly passing away do to this fentanyl epidemic we are currently facing in this country. Untreated mental health problems disrupt children’s functioning at home, with friends and in school. Allowing our children to refuse treatment, for mental health issues puts them at an increased risk of school failure, substance abuse and even suicide. Parents should not have to get courts involved to seek treatment for a child who is struggling. How many teen suicides and accidental overdoses do we need to face before a change is made.
A big part of our foundations goal is not only to bring awareness to the dangers of Fentanyl, but to change the laws regarding a teens right to refuse treatment for drug abuse and use. Had this law been different, Makayla would still be with us today. My sister tried so hard to get her into a treatment facility to gain her help regarding pill use, drugs use, etc. Makayla had the right to refuse and so she did. Three short weeks later she took a pill she thought was Percocet but was in fact 100% Fentanyl. This needs to change to save these young peoples lives.
In reference to HB1923, a person is not considered a legal adult until the age of 18. They are not able to live on their own, unless legally emancipated, they cannot vote, join the military, etc. Currently, laws allow children age 14 and above to be able to make adult decisions regarding their mental health and substance abuse treatment, yet legally they are not an adult. Children under the age of 18 are not mentally and emotionally to be able to state whether they have a mental health and:or substance abuse problem requiring help or admission to a clinic. Children in this age range believe “that will never happen to me” and perceive they are invincible. Yet, they are allowed to deny themselves the help that could be needed. If it wasn’t for this law, I would have been able to have my daughter admitted for mental health and substance abuse at age 15. However a short month and a half after discovering a substance abuse issue, I walked in to her room to find her dead in her bed, 2 weeks after her 16th birthday. Children are not equipped to make these life altering decisions. And we should not be preventing parents and healthcare from providing it to them!
HB2054 - Community services boards; information to certain defendants, services provided by boards.
HB2066 - Custodial interrogation of a child; statement of leniency.
HB2072 - Action of forfeiture; disposal of property, exemptions.
HB2121 - Juvenile transfer hearing; factors to be considered.
RISE for Youth supports this bill.
HB2129 - Child victims and witnesses; using two-way closed-circuit television, expands age range.
Child Victim (AZ) Who Used CCTV During a Criminal Trial I wanted to do the closed-circuit television (CCTV) because I was scared to face my dad in court, face to face. The CCTV helped me calm down, but I was still a little bit scared to testify in court, but it helped me face my fear in court. I was able to testify much easier, and it helped me calm down almost all the way. I was glad that I was able to use the CCTV in court. I think CCTV is important because it can help kids face their fear of testifying, and they can go home more stress-free. They can go back to their lives better. I think all kids should be able to use CCTV, more kids should be able to. It was hard to talk to my mom, the detectives, and to the prosecutors, and it would have been harder in court in front of my dad. I think that CCTV helps kids feel a little bit safer than they felt before, and help parents feel that it’s a little bit safer for their kids as well. I think all kids, not just myself would find it much easier to testify in court if they can use CCTV. Comments of the Mother of the Child Victim My daughter, AZ, was a victim of sexual abuse from ages 7-10 years old. Her father, Jose Noe Quintanilla, was found guilty of 3 counts of object sexual penetration and one count of rape. I am writing this statement to express my gratefulness for my daughter’s ability to use closed-circuit television (CCTV) while testifying during the criminal trial, and to advocate in support of more children being able to testify via CCTV in Virginia. My daughter was traumatized from the abuse and had nightmares, flashbacks, and panic attacks and often thought about the abuse. She suffered from suicidal thoughts regularly. During the trial, and at the time she had to testify, she also lived in an intense fear her dad was going to attack her for telling the truth and did not feel safe about talking about the abuse or testifying in court. As her mother, it pained me and has caused me great stress to see my daughter suffering, and to know it will affect her the rest of her life. My greatest concerns were AZ’s future and getting her through the trial with the least amount of trauma. My daughter was told by the prosecutor’s office she needed to testify in open court. For my daughter, this meant she had to be able to be questioned like an adult about graphic and traumatizing sexual acts her father did to her in open court with her father only several yards away, and in front of others. This is a frightening situation for any child. My daughter was later approved to testify through CCTV. Being able to testify through CCTV helped AZ get through testifying, and has kept the traumatizing impacts of the trial from being too much for her. If she had to testify in front of her father, she may have been unable to speak about the abuse in the courtroom, and would be much more traumatized. Additionally, her father became emotional during her testimony, and if she had to testify only a few yards away from him, his emotional behavior would have affected her ability to testify. Using CCTV gave my daughter the ability to stand up for herself and tell her story in a way that empowers children who have been abused. Please see the short attachment for the rest of testimony. Thank you.
HB2150 - Trace evidence collection kit; collection, retention, and storage of kits, effective date.
HB2165 - Criminal appeals; duties of the Attorney General and attorney for the Commonwealth.
HB2204 - Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof; data collection.
HB2230 - Parolee or felon; arrest & return when serving a period of postrelease supervision.
RE: HB 1435 - PRO -I am in favor of this bill, running sentences concurrently. However, this should be taken up AFTER HB 2013 and 2230. HB 1960 - I am PRO eliminating mandatory minimums. Last year, when I sparred with Del Holt on this matter, he challenged me to provide proof that mandatory minimums did not work. i provided a copy of the Brennan Center study-- https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/end-mandatory-minimums within minutes. No study says this works. PLEASE REPEAL MANDATORY MINIMUMS. HB 2013, 2230 - CON -- Both bills once again advanced this session, seek to suspend sentences on 'technical' violations, and to redefine technical to essentially mean whatever the probation officer wants. Example, in 2021, my probation officer determined that I must be wanting to have sex with minors (never mind I was falsely convicted though I plead NOT guilty). Why? Because I was in a hotel's business office at 6 am legally using a computer to apply for a job. I was arrested again, this time claiming I was trying to have sex in a park. Why ? A vigilante group accosted me there, filed a report, and were upset because I was out of jail on appeal, and so they accused me of looking for illicit sex in the park. I was, in fact, jogging. The current system puts the burden of proof on the CW, where it should be, and where the real burden should be. The CW has too much authority now, but repealing this bill, and reimagining both bills to punish greater, does nothing for liberty, nothing for justice, over-trusts the judicial system to do the right thing, where they have failed over and over and over again. VOTE NO
HB2321 - Investigation prior to release; input from the attorney for the Commonwealth.
HB2400 - Criminal records; expungement and sealing of records.
HB1432 - Trespass; service of process.
In order to serve process in VA, an individual must be age 18 years or older, not a party or otherwise interested in the subject matter in controversy, under LIS 8.01-293. under 18.2-409, resisting or obstruction of legal process is illegal. I believe that if a private process server, is on a property, he or she should be exempt from being charged with trespassing, even if a sign, or spoken communication has been posted or given, if his or her presence is solely for the purpose for perfecting that service of process. I also feel that if the individual is on the property for other reasons, rather than the service of legal process, then they should be treated as normal citizens, subject to prosecution.
I am the CEO of Cavalier Courier and Process Service. I oversee private process service for thousands of papers annually for law firms and government agencies. Individuals who are attempting to evade service to avoid the legal system commonly threaten us with trespass charges. This threat is always due to merely our presence on their property to access their front door (or office building door), not any other behavior unbecoming of a professional. In my opinion, the courts in Virginia would struggle to function if evasive individuals are able to successfully charge private process servers with trespassing. Since private process service is a vital function for the courts, I fully support this bill.
Members of the House, Please consider that private process servers do not now trespass on property marked with “no trespass” warnings. Residents of the Commonwealth, subject to the privileges and responsibilities as a resident, should not be able to shield themselves from constitutionally required service of process by an authorized individual by posting a sign forbidding such service. Codifying HB 1432 will notify residents of what is already the case: no trespass occurs when service of process takes place on property even though marked as “no trespass”. Making this clear to the public will ease the burden on law enforcement of responding to such complaints and will free up time and funds needed for other pressing matters. Please support passage of HB 1432.
I hope to be heard.
I have been a process server for 25 years. And own a Process’ serving company. Three times in 24 years i and my son have been charged with trespassing while attempting to serve court documents . We beleive we have an exception due to a former attorney general opinion. That states we are working a s a sheriff does. The cases were all dismissed. There are still a few counties that the sheriffs office don’t want this bill to pass because it infringes on their income
I am a process server in Northern Virginia, and I believe that this ability to have immunity from criminal trespass while executing service of process makes a lot of sense. Passing a bill like this will help reduce hurdles and possible conflict in the field when we are working. As a professional process server for over 30 years, this issue comes up periodically and can put us in a gray area of having to decide whether or not to succeed at service or to risk conflict by choosing to attempt service and risk conflict and loss of time on site if the police are called. It has been suggested that somehow process servers would have an ability to harass the property owner or resident. The task of any good process server is to complete the service successfully within the bounds of the law without causing undue conflict or stress on the party being served. I do not believe process servers are in the business of harassing people they’re merely trying to complete the task they’ve been hired by their client to do. I would encourage you to pass this bill and show professional process servers in Virginia that you understand that have some protections to perform our work without fear of trespassing issues will prove beneficial to ensuring the due process under our system.
The owners and agents of Justice, Inc., a Private Process Service in Winchester which has been in business since 1991, and is owned by a veteran and past law enforcement officer. I do not believe this bill was introduced to make it easier for any private process server to harass any law enforcement officer that a court document has been issued for. Of all the civil documents I have served on law enforcement, I have NEVER served a law endorsement officer at their home, unless it was a civil suit where they are the defendant. Most of the civil documents served on law enforcement are Subpoena for Witness or Subpoena Duces Tecums. These documents should be served at their place of employment, since the documents would be for time during their employment. Please support HB1432 so the Private Process Servers are the one's not being harassed. Thank you for your time. Cheryl L. Anderson 1419 Ramseur Lane Winchester, VA 22601 540-722-0709 email@example.com
It should be lawful for Process Server's to enter and serve legal documents on persons or business who's property is posted with No Trespassing signs.
Steongly support this -- process servers, by definition, cannot be tresspassing; they are engaged in legitimate public service. Forcing them to be stopped by a sign, would create a myriad of complications to the legal process and the public good. Please support this bill.