New curfew would expire in two years

A Council committee added a sunset provision to the proposed new curfew law today after hearing testimony that curfews are ineffective and violate the rights of minors.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who introduced the bill on Mayor Nutter's behalf, said the administration would be asked to provide data in two years to demonstrate the curfew's effectiveness.

The curfew law, if passed, would expire in December 2013. Based on the data, Council could then makes changes, Brown said.

Mary Catherine Roper, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, also warned the committee that the bill is "almost certainly unconstitutional."

"If it is passed, it will invite litigation," she said.

Although the new curfew bill was sparked by the random "flash mob" attacks in Center City, Councilman Curtis Jones also said he thought the curfew could be effective in moving kids off the streets in neighborhoods plagued by shootings and other more violent juvenile crime.

"I have to balance civil rights and the constitutional right to live without being murdered in the streets," he said.

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