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12/10/2004 2:15:14 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Jersey--Daytime Curfew Bill Scheduled for Vote Monday

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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December 10, 2004


New Jersey--Daytime Curfew Bill Scheduled for Vote Monday


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

A daytime curfew bill that has already passed the Senate may have an
impact on homeschoolers. The Assembly will probably vote on S155 on
Monday, and it is very unlikely it will be defeated. Therefore HSLDA
is prepared to help homeschoolers at the local level if problems arise
from this legislation.

As it is written, it authorizes municipalities to adopt curfew
ordinances forbidding public and private school students--but not
homeschool students--from being in public places during the hours
their school is in session. If the bill becomes law and your
municipality tries to adopt a curfew, be vigilant to ensure that the
local ordinance is not worse than the state law allows, and work to
defeat all such ordinances.

Below are several reasons why we have opposed daytime curfews across
the country.

Daytime curfews do not deter juvenile crime.

Curfew proponents rely most heavily on the argument that daytime
curfews deter juvenile crime. If this premise were 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 recent California
study compared the crime rates of counties that enforced curfew
ordinances and counties that did not. 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.

Daytime curfews allow searches without probable cause.

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution proscribes any investigation
of a citizen without a "probable cause." Under curfew ordinances,
police are not bound by this principle. They have the authority to
stop and question, and possibly cite, anyone who appears to be young
enough to be violating the curfew.

Daytime curfews assume a person is guilty until proven innocent.

In several incidents where homeschool students were stopped by police,
the teenagers had not 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 the 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."

Daytime curfews are too vague.

If a person of ordinary intelligence cannot understand what a law
permits and prohibits, the law is considered "vague" and, therefore,
unconstitutional. Daytime curfews can be challenged easily for
vagueness. Terms such as "loitering," "idling," or even "being in" can
be interpreted at an officer's or court's discretion, giving juveniles
no clear idea of what they can or cannot do in public during the
curfew hours. Because the ordinances are vague, they are void.


Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney
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-> Can you look at the clouds and tell the direction of the wind?

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But usually there is a prevailing wind. HSLDA watches the gusts
and monitors the prevailing trends of change in the legal climate
of home education. So no matter which way the wind is blowing,
we're there to protect your family.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1938

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