In a society that is suppose to strive for justice and fairness, there are times when the system fails individuals who find themselves caught in the web of legal complexities. This blog sheds light on the unfortunate story of a woman, Tammie Lawson, who despite her legal and factual innocence, has been unjustly placed on the Virginia Sex Registry. We delve into the circumstances surrounding her case and explore the consequences she faces due to a flawed system.
A Life Altered by Injustice:
In 1999, Tammie Rutherford left her first husband who she had a child (David Alan) at 16 with after 12 yrs. From 1999 to 2002 she was a single mother of three children, David, Charity, and Daniel. David Alan became troubled after the separation of his parents and was removed from her custody to Department of Social Services.
In the fall of 2000 Tammie had troubles of her own. After abuse from a romantic affair (with a man she married) she became involved with using crack cocaine. Nevertheless, she maintained two (2) jobs.
After marrying the man from the affair she subsequently obtained a divorce and then met and married another man. Because of her drug addiction she gave custody of two (2) of her children to her mother.
In 2003 Tammies sister got custody of of David Allan. At this time it was revealed that David, then 14, was having sex with a 26 yr old woman. Tammie had no custody or visitation with David. Tammies sister told Tammie and Tammie went to police. The 26 yr old was arrested.
The shocking part is police charged both Tammy and her sister with failing to report the crime to police when they originally found out about it. She is charged with a subsection of the code of Virginia for failing to report the crime in a timely manner stating she encouraged or allowed that sex crime to happen.
The case against Tammie is based on unreliable evidence. the lack of due process and through investigation raises concerns about the integrity of the justice system in her case.
A Lifetime of Stigma:
Being wrongly placed on the sex registry carries severe consequences that extend far beyond the courtroom. Tammies life has been irrevocably impacted as she struggled to find employment, housing, and the pursuit of happiness. The stigma associated with the registry has many collateral consequences.
Tammie has lived a successful life and has gained custody of her four (4) grandchildren. She is a productive member of society. Tammies life is still monitored every 90 days and she must report all social media accounts, email addresses, vehicle registration, place of employment and so much more.
Virginia is a zero tolerance crime state. There is not a single case in favor of removing someone from the sex registry and the Virginia Legislature amended their sex offense statutes which are clearly Ex post Facto that increase the punishment from 10 yrs to lifetime.
Tammie's story highlights the need for a critical examination of the flaws within the sex offender registry system. While it is crucial to protect society from true offenders, it is equally important to ensure that innocent individuals are not wrongfully condemned. Tammie has never harmed a child.
Seeking Reform and Justice:
it is imperative that we advocate for reforms that promote fairness, justice and the protections of innocent individuals. A comprehensive review of cases, increased support for those wrongly accused, and improving investigative procedures are essential steps towards rectifying the injustices suffered by individuals like Tammie.