Thursday, October 18, 2007

CNN: Trailer park becomes magnet for sex offenders ran an interesting story today about a trailer park in Florida that has allegedly become a haven for convicted sex offenders.  Under local law, sex offenders are apparently prohibited from living near schools, churches, playgrounds, and bus stops.  The trailer park, which is not located within the restricted areas, has attracted many sex offenders from different parts of the state, in part because the manager encourages them to move there for rehabilitation purposes.  However, this has angered some residents, who feel that they should have been informed about the management's plans.

The casebook I use in first-year Property (Dukeminier) includes a short summary of Mulligan v. Panther Valley Property Owners Association, a case involving a gated community that voted to restrict certain sex offenders from residing therein.  When I discuss this case in class, I ask the students whether restrictions like this will force sex offenders to congregate in areas that are unable to impose such barriers to entry, thus putting residents of those neighborhoods at greater risk.  This seems to be exactly what is happening in the Florida trailer park, but the management of the park seems to view it as a positive development.  As anti-sex-offender ordinances become more common, we may see more communities like this emerging.  Time will tell.

Josh Tate

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