Reply To: Opinion: Virginia lawmakers unfairly target registered citizens

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Sherry Sloan

If you take a hard look at the statistics you KNOW there are thousands of innocent men and women incarcerated nationwide. Only 7% of criminal cases go to trial the other 93% are resolved through plea bargains. Do you REALLY believe cops and prosecutors get it right 93% of the time? Could that even be possible knowing, as we do now, how routinely police reports don’t match the video from their own dash-cams, or audits of crime labs find serious, systemic errors affecting thousands of cases? So why do so many innocent people plead guilty? This is especially true in cases of child pornograghy. Because our draconian sentencing laws give prosecutors, not judges nearly all the power in the system. If you go to trial, they will heap on extra counts and charges to punish you for daring to question them, and if you are found guilty (a common occurrence even for the innocent because too many jurors believe “you must have did something” or you wouldn’t be on trial). Again, when children are involved, jurors tend to convict based on feelings, not evidence. You can expect to pay a “trial tax” where the judge hits you with extra time because you “wasted the court’s time” by going to trial. So if an Innocent man is being offered ten years, but know’s he’ll do life if convicted, which choice do you think is all to often made? Lawmakers are hard on these type crimes because they don’t want to be considered by their constituents as “friends of child molesters” when in fact most of all people on the registry never touched a child. I see in VA where they are trying to pass a law that will keep sex offenders on the registry from entering a shelters. This is in humane if they do not have anywhere else to go!! I hope Virginia lawmakers do not pass the law that would keep low level sex offenders from schools. This is cruel! The sex offender registry hurts more children in families whose parent are resgistered than it ever helped save!!! It needs to be abolished altogether.