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Rochester Curfew Law Unconstitutional

The New York Court of Appeals declared a law adopted by the City of Rochester fixing a curfew on minors unconstitutional. In Jiovon Anonymous v. City of Rochester the Court held “we conclude that the crime statistics produced by defendants do not support the objectives of Rochester’s nocturnal curfew.”

After engaging in an analysis of the different levels of scrutiny that may be utilized in evaluating such regulations, as well as appropriate limitations upon the rights of minors, as opposed to those of adults, the court concluded “minors are affected by crime during curfew hours but from the obvious disconnect between the crime statistics and the nighttime curfew, it seems that no effort . . . [was] made by the [City] to ensure that the population targeted by the ordinance represented that part of the population causing trouble or that was being victimized.”

In addition to violating the rights of minors, the Court found the law violated the substantive due process rights of parents noting “an exception allowing for parental consent to the activities of minors during curfew hours is of paramount importance to the due process rights of parents.” While the law allowed parents to permit their minor children to be out after curfew, it also required that the parent accompany the minor child.The Court stated that if “a parental consent exception were included in this curfew, it would be a closer case – courts have upheld curfews having, among other things, such an exception as only minimally intrusive upon the parent’s due process rights”. Yet, the Court found that parental consent which also requires parental custody is more of an intrusion upon parental rights than is permissible.

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