12 October 1998
Lets say your daughter is walking down the street at 10:00 P.M. to get some eggs and milk for breakfast tomorrow morning. But while she is walking back, a cop stops her for a curfew violation. The officer arrests her, searches her, and brings her into the station. Finally after three hours later, after you are worried sick, the police call you and say, “your daughter has been arrested for violating curfew. You need to come pick her up so we can release her into your custody.” After you finally get there, the officer gives your daughter back, and a citation for you and your daughter to appear in court.
The San Diego curfew, under which you and your daughter got a citation, was found to be unconstitutional, and denies kids to their freedom. Teenagers should not be subject to a curfew law.
The law for curfew has been a major debate in recent years. This law effects everybody under the age of 18. Whether the kid is guilty of breaking the law or not, they are liable to be arrested. That is mainly the reason why this topic is in the news frequently. The San Diego curfew law was originally made in 1950, but is just now being enforced. According to Micheal Cargal, a staff writer from the L.A. times, the law is now being enforced stronger by the mayors request. The law states that if anyone under the age of 18 years old is out of their house between the times of 10:00p.m. and 6a.m., they will get arrested for a curfew violation.
Why is this law coming into effect? Some say they believe that it has caused a decrease in crime rate. Jodi Wilgorn, from the L.A. times, believes that since the curfew law has been in effect, the juvenile crime rate has been decreasing. But the ACLU(American Civil Liberties Union) statistics show that the juvenile crime rate has been decreasing overall, with the curfew law in effect or not. One of the statistics from the L.A. Times also shows that the decrease in crime rate is not because of the curfew law, but because of the overall decrease in crime rate. The ACLU says that the drop in crime rate does not justify the use of curfew(Plotkin 1).
Many teenagers getting arrested are the innocent teens getting arrested for a curfew violation. Some teenagers might be walking home from a dance, walking to the store, or just getting something to eat. A curfew law makes it guilty to do all of these things after 10:00pm. Police should concentrate on more important issues. How would you feel if an officer was writing a report for your daughters curfew violation for four hours, while at the same time a rape is being committed that he may have stopped. Police officers should protect us, from murderers and rapists, not some kids walking home from a dance. Robert Plotkin, an ACLU spokesperson, criticizes this law by saying, “a curfew law makes it a crime just to be out on the streets”. (Connley 1).
This vague curfew law, made in the 1950’s, also violates peoples rights. The San Diego curfew law was found to be unconstitutional. It took away some of our religious freedom, and takes away a parents right to raise their own children. Robert Crosby, a writer from the L.A.Times, states that, “citizens must either choose from the curfew law, or their religious freedom. San Diego’s curfew law made it illegal for catholics from attending midnight masses.” (Curfew Struck Down 1). This curfew law that causes minors to attend their religious ceremonies, violates the right to religion, which violates the first Amendment. Plotkin, a spokesman for ACLU states that, “normally police are not supposed to stop you unless they have reasonable cause.” (Connely 1). With a curfew violation, the law enforcement will arrest and violate anyone under the age of 18, whether they have reasonable cost or not.
The parents are usually the ones that have to pay the most consequences for his. After the arrest has been made, the rest is laid on the parents. They are left with a fine of at least 100 dollars in fines, And another hundred for a curfew class. So the guardians of the minor are the ones to pay most of the consequences. For example, they first of all, must go pick up their kid at the station sometime at late night. Then they have to lose even more money in missing work one morning to take their child to appear in court. Crosby, from the L.A.Times states that, “A curfew law robs parents of their God given right to raise their own children.”(Crosby 1). The parents should have the right to set their own childs curfew, not the law.
Teenagers should not be subject to a curfew law. If this law is struck down, teenagers would have their freedom back. The police officers could also concentrate on more important issues, and parents could set their own rules for their child. A 17 year old, wanting to go to Mcdonalds at midnight doesn’t have to worry about getting arrested for being out to late. The overall juvenile crime rate is decreasing, and without a curfew law, it will still keep decreasing. If this law is banned, innocent teens will not get arrested.