2016] JUVENILE CURFEW LAWS 833
exceptions, such as the exercise of First Amendment protected speech,
which excuse minors from adjudication.5
Proponents of juvenile curfews assert that juvenile curfew laws support
the governmental interests of preventing juvenile crime and preventing
juvenile victimization.6 Detractors of juvenile curfews assert, in part, that
these laws do not further the aforementioned governmental interests and
even have detrimental effects to juveniles.7 Moreover, federal and state
courts disagree about how to analyze the constitutionality of juvenile curfew
laws.8 In short, the proper standard for juvenile curfew analysis is uncertain,
and, therefore, the Supreme Court of the United States must reassert its
authority by providing lower courts additional guidance in this very specific
area of constitutional jurisprudence.
The Court must accept a juvenile curfew case to resolve the
inconsistencies among lower courts, because disparate juvenile curfew
jurisprudence nationwide has led to a breakdown of any semblance of legal
should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a
minor in his legal custody. When the p olice find a minor in prima facie
violation of the curfew, the ordinance provides that the minor shall be
taken to the police station, the parent called, and the parent and minor
interrogated to determine the relevant facts, after which the minor is to
be released to the parent’s custody. If the parent cannot be located or
fails to take charge of the minor, the juvenile is released to the juvenile
In the case of a first violation by a minor, the police send his parents
by certified mail written notice of the violation, warning them that further
violations will result in imposition of the penalty provided for in the
ordinance. Upon a second violation, a fine of twenty-five dollars plus
costs of prosecution is imposed upon the parents, with the fine increasing
in twenty-five dollar increments for each successive violatio n. Refusal
to pay the fine and costs results in imprisonment in the Dauphin County
prison for a period not to exceed ten days. Any minor who violates the
curfew ordinance more than three times shall be reported by the Mayor
to a society or organization whose purpose it is to take charge of
incorrigibles and delinquents and proceedings shall then be taken, under
the Juvenile Act, 11 P.S. § 50-101 et seq., before the juvenile court for
the treatment, supervision, and rehabilitation of the minor.
Id. at 1246.
5 See Major Confusion Over Minor Rights, supra note 4, at 2404.
6 David A. Herman, Note, Ju venile Curfews and the Breakdown of the Tiered Approach
to Equal Pr otection, 82 N.Y.U. L. REV. 1857, 1860 (2007).
7 Major Confusion Over Minor Rights, supra note 4, at 2404–05.
8 See id. at 2421 (“The [juvenile curfew] split involves wildly varying standards of
review, significant disagreement over the rights at issue, and dramatic differences in the way
in which cities must prove the need for a curfew.”). (continued)