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Lawmakers examine curfew law again

Lawmakers are hoping to change the state’s curfew law ‘ again ‘ to come up with one that won’t be found unconstitutional.
Currently, minors who are out after 11 on week nights and after 1 a.m. on weekends can be arrested for curfew violation. There are some exceptions that allow minors to be out later ‘ such as for religious services or political events.
Corydon Chief Marshal Jim Kendall said his department rarely makes an arrest for a curfew violation.
‘Generally, we’ve never really had a problem,’ he said. ‘It’s more of a tool.’
Rather than making an arrest, Corydon marshals advise minors out after curfew to go home.
‘If there’s a curfew law, and the kids know they have to be home by a certain time, most of the kids will go home,’ Kendall said.
Twice in the last four years the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has ruled the law unconstitutional. The most recent ruling came late last month.
Under a proposed change in the law, law enforcement officers would not be allowed to detain a child or take him or her into custody unless they were reasonably certain that the minor was in violation of the law and did not have a legal defense to the violation.
The revised law was to get a second reading in the Indiana House of Representatives this week.
The Indiana Civil Liberties Union contends that the proposed curfew law may still be unconstitutional and takes away the rights of parents to rear their children the way they desire.
Kendall said the proposed change to the law would shift more responsibility to the parents to ensure their minor children are where they belong.
‘The current law helped both the parents and law enforcement,’ he said. ‘If we (police) run across a group of kids that we know could cause trouble, we could send them home.
‘It’s one less law enforcement tool you have to preserve peace in the community,’ Kendall said. ‘It puts more responsibility on other people.’