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6/3/2004 11:59:33 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Alabama--Calls Needed Now To Stop Harmful Curfew

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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June 3, 2004


Alabama--Calls Needed Now To Stop Harmful Curfew


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Last night, the Montgomery City Council passed a Daytime Curfew
forbidding anyone under the age of 18 from being out in public from
8:00a.m. until 3:00p.m, Monday through Friday.

HSLDA is opposed to this ordinance because it is an unnecessary and
burdensome restriction on the rights of homeschooling families. In
other cities and states, homeschoolers have faced fines from
enforcement of curfews simply because they were playing outside, going
to the store, or walking to a class for additional studies.

The ordinance makes no exceptions for homeschool students. Therefore,
it applies to all persons under the age of 18. A homeschool parent,
under this ordinance, could be subject to arrest for their child's
violation.

This ordinance is on the mayor's desk at the present time; he has 10
days to sign it.

We need your calls now to try to persuade the mayor to veto it!


REQUESTED ACTION

Please call the Office of the Mayor and respectfully request that he
veto this ordinance. Montgomery Mayor's Office: (334) 241-2000.

Give him this message:

"Please veto the curfew ordinance and protect the constitutional
rights of the citizens of Montgomery. Enforce truancy laws instead to
stop crime."


BACKGROUND

- Curfew proponents rely most heavily on the argument that daytime
curfews deter juvenile crime. If this premise was true, then areas
that strictly enforce a curfew ordinance should have a lower juvenile
crime rate than areas that do not have a curfew. A California study
compared the crime rates of counties that enforced curfew ordinances
and counties that did not.i The study found that the crime rate of the
counties where a curfew ordinance was enforced remained the same as
those counties without such an ordinance. The curfews had no effect on
juvenile crime.

- In the incidents mentioned above, none of the teenagers had engaged
in any suspicious activities. There was no evidence that they either
had committed a crime or intended to commit a crime. Nonetheless, the
police subjected these young people to interrogation and suspicion
until they had proved their innocence. A daytime curfew reverses the
long-held American presumption of "innocent until proven guilty."

- The Constitution guarantees all citizens equal treatment under the
law-courts will make no judgment based on property, wealth, or fame.
Under a curfew, juveniles learn that "equal protection" means that all
juveniles are punished equally, distinguishing between neither victims
nor perpetrators, neither innocent nor guilty. Juveniles quickly learn
that because some kids are truant and some kids commit crimes, all
kids must suffer. If our liberties depend on everyone else's good
behavior, our liberties are fragile indeed.

- Curfew laws prohibit the constitutional right to move about freely,
among other activities. Any restriction of a fundamental right must be
supported by a compelling governmental interest. Furthermore, the
restriction must be as narrow as possible, so that it impinges on a
citizen's rights as little as possible. Daytime curfews do not meet
this requirement. There are less restrictive methods of dealing with
truancy and crime. Curfews are too broad and are illegal.

For more information on daytime curfews, please visit our website:

http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1610


Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel



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