Saturday, November 28, 2015

Camden business curfew trial ends

After more than two weeks of testimony from business owners and crime experts, the Camden business curfew trial concluded Wednesday. A decision, though, could take another month.

Camden business curfew trial ends


After more than two weeks of testimony from business owners and crime experts, the Camden business curfew trial concluded Wednesday.

A decision, though, could take another month.

Final briefs from each side are due to presiding Camden County Superior Court Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina on March 6. Fernandez-Vina will make a decision sometime after that, his secretary said.

The trial is a legal fight between the city and activist Frank Fulbrook, a few late-night eateries and 7-Eleven over the city’s ordinance to shut down businesses early.

The curfew ordinance, intended to help curb crime, was enacted on Sept. 19, 2011. It requires businesses in residential zones or within 200 feet of a residential zone to close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays and between midnight and 6 a.m. on weekends. The curfew does not apply to pharmacies or businesses holding liquor licenses or selling fuel.

City activist Frank Fulbrook, along with operators of some late-night businesses, filed a lawsuit challenging the curfew shortly after it was enacted (though it was never implemented). The lawsuit was eventually combined with another one filed by 7-Eleven Inc., which has two stores in Camden.

Similar curfew measures adopted in 1998 and 2006 were tossed out after successful court challenges.

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd attempted to enforce the curfew last fall but Fernandez-Vina said there was not sufficient urgency to enforce the curfew before a trial and granted an injunction that prohibits police from enforcing the ordinance.

“All (the ordinance) seeks to do is that the residents’ right to the quiet enjoyment of their property is won’t be disturbed,” said attorney John Eastlack, who was contracted to represent the city.

During the trial Fulbrook said the business curfew went “completely against” the city’s master plan, which calls for a vibrant city setting. (Some of his other curfew arguments may be read here.)

Neither side has expressed particular confidence but Fulbrook has already vowed to appeal if his side loses.

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Allison Steele writes about Camden’s schools, government and businesses. Most importantly, she writes about the city’s residents. She is a former crime reporter who covered the Camden and Philadelphia police departments for the Inquirer. A Philly native, she has been with the Inquirer since 2008.

Send comments, tips and story ideas to, call 856-779-3876, or reach out on Twitter @AESteele.

Reach Allison at .

Allison Steele
Also on
letter icon Newsletter