Atlanta to Enforce Youth Curfew, Including Parental Fines


Atlanta officials have vowed to enforce a longstanding youth curfew ordinance often ignored, fining parents of multiple offenders $1,000 and making them subject to 60 days of jail or community service, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A first offense draws a warning; a second offense leads to the tougher standards. Mayor Kasim Reed, flanked by his police chief, parks commissioner, and a top transit official, said police patrols will be increased for city parks, recreation centers, pools and potential problem areas. Teens 16 and under can't be out of their homes without adult supervision from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from midnight to 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

“We will be tough on crime; we are not being overly heavy-handed at all,” Reed said. This latest call for a youth curfew enforcement comes nearly two years after former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin made a similar pronouncement — without the threat of a fine or jail time. It also comes more than a month after youths in a large group boarded a public transit train headed for the airport and attacked and injured two Delta flight attendants, leading to three arrests. However, Gerry Weber, a constitutional rights lawyer, said curfew ordinances in general have received mixed reviews in federal court, including the notion of blaming parents for their children's crimes. “The imposition of criminal sanctions on the parents when the wrongdoing is done by the child, that kind of derivative liability has been frowned on by the courts,” Weber said. “That is a challenge that the city is going to have to face if they try to enforce this.”

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