ACLU WILL CONTINUE TO CHALLENGE THE DALLAS TEEN CURFEW DESPITE DENIAL OF PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI BY SUPREME COURT
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas will continue to challenge the Dallas Teen Curfew, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's denial of a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari. The curfew, as correctly ruled by the trial court, still infringes on the fundamental liberty of young people. At the same time, such a curfew fails to have any impact on the underlying social causes driving crime or protect young people from the effects of criminal activity, especially in the home.
Inasmuch, the ACLU intends to vigorously pursue as an applied challenge in Dallas. Any young person or parent cited under the ordinance is encouraged to contact the ACLU at (214) 939-8089 for consultation and possible legal representation.
At the same time, ACLU legal counsel will consider the option of reopening the case in Judge Jerry Burchmeyer's U.S. District Court. In the first ruling, the court overturned the ordinance on freedom of association, selective enforcement and familial privacy grounds. Now, the ACLU may ask the judge to look at Fourteenth Amendment due process liberty as applicable to freedom of movement.
Another area for review by the trial court concerns the unconstitutional seizure of young people, making them identify themselves and give their age, without probable cause. The Fourth Amendment proscribes that any seizure of the person requires that a police officer must have articulable suspicion that a person has committed a crime or that criminal activity may be afoot and that the person with whom he is dealing may be armed and dangerous. Criminal conduct cannot be defined as something that is constitutionally protected activity--walking, standing or moving about in public places or private business establishments.
Joe Cook, Northern Regional, ACLU of Texas, responded to the Supreme Court's decision by saying, "The American Civil Liberties Union opposes "crime fighting" proposals, such as this curfew, that expands government power at the expense of the rights of innocent people. Effective law enforcement and individual freedom are compatible in a free and democratic society. We can and must have both.
"Quick-fix do-nothing curfews may give cover to politicians to say that they are doing something about crime, but such moves mask the underlying social causes and divert our attention from needs such as higher literacy rates, job training and meaningful jobs, police, jail and prison reforms, and more recreational opportunities for young people."
If your town is attempting to impose a curfew law on young people, let us know about it. Send info to: THE ROC - P.O. Box 147 - Jewett, OH 43986 - Phone/Fax: (740) 946-2011.