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Abstract

Sex offenders are among the most loathed and detested members of our society. Over the past fifteen years, communities have zealously passed laws restricting the rights of sex offenders. These laws mandate that sex offenders register with authorities and severely limit where sex offenders may reside. This legislation is designed to foster an important goal: to protect the health and safety of children from possible recidivism from sex offenders. In 2007, the Town Board of Huntington, New York, passed a law barring sex offenders from renting or leasing accessory apartments within the Town. The health and safety of the town's children is a compelling governmental interest. However, the Huntington statute is unconstitutional because it is violative of the constitutional right to intrastate travel, as recognized by the Second Circuit. Deprivation of the right to travel outweighs the town's interest in protecting its children because the statute is not narrowly tailored to meet its public safety interest.

Huntington's accessory apartment statute is also poor public policy because it will lead to the inverse of its stated intentions. The statute is detrimental to the safety of children and will increase sex offender recidivism by pushing sex offenders underground and away from potential support systems. By enacting this statute, Huntington has done more harm than good for not only the citizens of the Town but for Suffolk County itself.

Part II of this Comment provides a brief overview of the Town of Huntington. Part III discusses the development of the right to "intrastate" travel by first examining the fundamental right to "interstate" travel. Part IV analyzes the Second Circuit's recognition of a fundamental right to intrastate travel and whether this right exists in Suffolk County. Part V studies the development of sex offender policy, including the development and constitutionality of residency restriction statutes. Part VI looks closely at New York's sex offender policy, including the policy implemented in the Town of Huntington. Part VII deciphers why the Town of Huntington targeted accessory apartments, and whether the reasons for passing this statute contained in their legislative intent are valid. Finally, this Comment will examine the constitutionality of Huntington's accessory apartment statute, regarding the right to intrastate travel, and whether Huntington's sex offender policy, itself, is good for the general public welfare.