Wow, Is It Already Time to Renew the Juvenile Curfew Ordinance?

Newcomers (and everyone else, let's face it) probably don't recall that when the Dallas City Council passed the Juvenile Curfew Ordinance in 1991, it was a long, contentious process that wound up in court, courtesy some teenagers' folks who thought keeping 17-and-unders off the city streets after 11 p.m. was a violation of their Constitutional rights. The Fifth Circuit disagreed, and, noted the Harvard Law Review in May 2005, "Dallas's juvenile curfew ordinance survived strict scrutiny [and] provided a model ordinance for other communities."

Soon enough, we'll find out how folks still feel about the ordinance, which will expire May 1 if the city council doesn't act to renew. And it can't just automatically give its okee-doke: As assistant city manager Ryan Evans noted in a letter sent this week to the council's Public Safety Committee, for the ordinance to be renewed there must be two public hearings, which are scheduled to take place March 25 and April 25, with the last one occuring right before the council is to vote. The council will OK the public hearings in February. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky