New York’s highest court heard arguments this week on a challenge to Rochester’s juvenile curfew, reports Youth Today. A challenge to a similar curfew in Lowell, Ma., was heard by that state’s Supreme Judicial Court last month. Rulings in both cases could come within weeks. The court challenges come at a time when curfew laws appear to be spreading, in the face of research that concludes they don’t cut teen crime.
Rochester attorneys defended its curfew before the Court of Appeals as a public safety measure that reduces juvenile violence and saves lives. Rochester enacted the curfew, which applies to youths 17 and under from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends, after seven youths were killed in 2005. Michael Burger, attorney for the father and his teenage son who challenged the curfew, argued that the ordinance enabled police to arrest and interrogate a disproportionate percentage of minorities. Burger said 94 percent of the 709 youths picked up on curfew violations were black or Hispanic, said the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.