Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960

 

By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

L.S.City Council to remove curfew law

 

May 29, 2012



In 1997 Lake Stevens adopted a curfew ordinance which stated that no one under the age of 18 was allowed on public streets, highways, alleys, parks, vacant lots or any other public place within the city between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the week and after midnight on weekends, however, this ordinance has since been removed.

On Monday, May 14, the Lake Stevens City Council voted to remove the ordinance from the city’s laws because of concern of constitutionality.

“During the 1990s a number of Washington cities, to include Lake Stevens, passed juvenile curfew ordinances. However, curfew ordinances have not fared well in Washington courts,” Lake Stevens Police Chief Randy Celori said.

Celori went on to explain that in 2003 the state Supreme Court invalidated a city of Sumner curfew and parental responsibility ordinance on the grounds that it was unconstitutionally vague.

“The state court of appeals also invalidated a Bellingham curfew ordinance on the basis that, in addition to being unconstitutionally vague, it unconstitutionally restricted juveniles’ freedom of movement and expression,” he said.

The result of violating curfew could have been taking the minor into custody and an infraction of $100 to $250 depending on how many offenses were committed.

Lake Stevens Police have been limiting their curfew enforcement in the past few years.

“I don’t think the public will notice any changes. We have limited our enforcement of the curfew ordinance over the past several years to avoid any civil issues that could result from restricting a juvenile’s freedom of movement and expressions,” Celori said. “Besides a few of our habitual juvenile offenders there is no longer a need for a curfew to be in place.”

 

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