THE VIRGINIA WATCHDOG
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01/18/07 LAW ENFORCEMENT GETS PROTECTION IN NEW BILL BUT CHILDREN, ABUSED WOMEN, AND CRIME VICTIMS, ETC. DON'T
Yesterday the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice committee heard a particular bill which protects only law enforcement but leaves minor children, single/abused women, crime victims and many others hanging out in the wind exposing them as much as the law enforcements officers are - and maybe more.
SB1282 was introduced by Senator Stosch of Henrico County and reads like this:
F. Upon written request of a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, a court clerk shall remove any land records posted on the Internet in accordance with subsection A or available via secure remote access pursuant to subsection D that indicate the law-enforcement officer's place of residence or place of residence of any spouse or child of the law-enforcement officer.
Sounds like a good idea but The Virginia Watchdog's founder, BJ Ostergren pointed out that in the Clerks' records are final divorce decrees, deeds, mortgages, and many other documents that put everyone in the Commonwealth of VA at risk - not just cops. The final divorce decrees are called "land records" because they usually contain a name change document. Judgments/liens, powers of attorney, marriage licenses, UCCs, guardianship papers, etc. are also considered "land records" too. So are Wills and anything to do with Probate.
Those records which used to enjoy the safety and security of a Clerk's office are now being offered online via remote access. If a Clerk claims he has a "secure site" (which no one has in this country), then he doesn't have to redact out any of the items listed in paragraph A. And once a person signs up - and ANYONE can - then that person can let the whole neighborhood in to use his computer/password and dig in people's business. Who would know? The Clerk certainly wouldn't.
But the Circuit Court Clerks and their Clerks' Association have pushed for this online records scheme and used tax dollars to belong to it. The press associations also pushed for online records so they could sit in their newspaper offices and do their research and write their columns. The title examiners in northern VA and VA Beach area pushed for it too along with real estate attorneys and some others. But they all forgot they have their own records out there...
Everyone should ask their own legislator why they are just going to protect law enforcement (as defined here) but SNUB kids, doctors/nurses, judges (remember the Federal judge whose husband and mother was killed), prosecutors, the elderly, certain members of the military, teachers, abused women or men, victims of crimes, anyone who has served on a jury and convicted someone or a Grand Jury where they returned an indictment, a witness in a trial, zoning enforcement officials, the dog catcher, etc.
There are many groups of people who need protecting and they don't regularly have a gun at their disposal like a cop would have.
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