J.P. v. State of Florida

2002 Fla. App. LEXIS 11699, 27 Fla. L. Weekly D. 1859 (2002)

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J.P. v. State of Florida

Florida District Court of Appeal
2002 Fla. App. LEXIS 11699, 27 Fla. L. Weekly D. 1859 (2002)

Facts

J.P. (defendant) was a child who was taken into custody because he was riding his bicycle in Tampa at about 2:00 a.m. The state (plaintiff) charged J.P. with delinquency for violating Tampa’s curfew ordinance, which prohibited children under the age of 17 from being in public or semi-public places between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weeknights, and from 12:00 a.m. through 6:00 a.m. on weekends. There were exceptions for children who were with a parent; children who were on an errand for a parent and had a permission note from the parent; and school, church, or First Amendment activities. But the breadth of the ordinance prohibited otherwise appropriate activities, such as a child’s buying dinner, with a parent’s permission, on the way home after finishing work at 11:00 p.m. Penalties included adjudication of delinquency and up to six months’ detention in a juvenile justice facility. J.P. filed a motion arguing that the ordinance was unconstitutional. The state did not present any statistical evidence to support the need for the ordinance. Nevertheless, the trial court denied the motion, found J.P. delinquent, and sentenced him to confinement in a juvenile justice facility. J.P. appealed. During the appellate procedure, the state conceded that the ordinance’s penalties did not overcome strict-scrutiny review. The appellate court applied heightened-scrutiny review, found that the ordinance was constitutional because it was substantially related to an important government interest, and affirmed the trial court’s ruling. The appellate court certified two questions to the state supreme court: (1) What level of scrutiny applies when a court considers whether a juvenile curfew ordinance is constitutional? (2) Is the Tampa ordinance constitutional? The supreme court responded that the strict-scrutiny review applied and remanded the matter to the appellate court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Davis, J.)

Concurrence (Northcutt, J.)

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