On May 20, 2014, Miguel Gonzalez became eligible for conditional release from prison, having served over two years of his two-and-a-half-year sentence for statutory rape. Instead of releasing Gonzalez, the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) confined Gonzalez for an additional seven and a half months after his initial release date and over four months after his maximum sentence. On February 4, 2015, DOCCS finally released Gonzalez from New York’s Woodbourne Correctional Facility. The sole reason for Gonzalez’s additional confinement was his failure to secure housing that complied with the residency restrictions placed on individuals convicted of sex offenses. Gonzalez, convicted of a sex offense against a person under eighteen years of age and having been designated a Level 2 Sex Offender subject to lifetime registration, was subject to the residency restrictions under two New York State statutes which affect access to both public and private housing.
All fifty states have some form of sex offense-related residency restriction. These restrictions vary across states in the severity of the housing obstacles and the relative predictability of these obstacles prior to conviction. Because states use slightly different criteria to determine what residency restrictions an individual will face, this Note will focus on New York law and makes recommendations to New York defense lawyers and courts. Given the nationwide ubiquity of these state residency restriction statutes, this Note also recommends the Supreme Court expand its ruling in Padilla v. Kentucky, requiring defense advisals on immigration consequences, to also constitutionally require defense advisals and judicial plea colloquies on sex offense-related housing consequences.