Sex Offender Name Changes Bill Heads to Governor's Desk - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Sex Offender Name Changes Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

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It could soon be more difficult for sex offenders to legally change their name in the commonwealth.

A bill backed by Albemarle Delegate Rob Bell has cleared the House and Senate, and will now go to the governor's desk for consideration. It requires a court to find "good cause" before accepting a name change application from a registered sex offender.

Governor Terry McAuliffe has not said if he will sign it.

Office of Delegate Rob Bell Press Release

RICHMOND, VA, February 21, 2014 ­– Today the General Assembly approved House Bill 233 by Delegate Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, which would address issues raised by registered sex offenders who apply for a name change.

The bill would cover registered sex offenders, probationers and inmates. It would require a court hearing and notice to the prosecutor before allowing them to legally change their names. In addition to good cause for the application, the bill would require that the applicant demonstrate that the name change would not frustrate a legitimate law-enforcement purpose, is for a fraudulent purpose and would not otherwise infringe upon the rights of others.

“Where someone like a registered sex offender or probationer is under ongoing supervision, it is important for the public to be able to look him up,” Bell said. “In recent cases, a name change went forward in court without even notice to the prosecutor.”

The issue was brought to Bell by David Barredo, an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Culpeper County. In addition, as has been reported locally, Jeff Kitze who was convicted of rape and served a 20-year sentence, changed his name to Jeffrey Miller. This was done without notice to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office.

“The prosecutor needs to know so that he or she can present evidence to the court and make any appropriate objections,” Bell said.

The bill will now be transmitted to Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

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