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Schleifer v. City of Charlottesville
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
159 F.3d 843 (1998)
The City of Charlottesville (the city) (defendant) passed a law imposing a curfew on anyone 16 years old or younger. The curfew was in place from midnight to 5:00 a.m. during the week and from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. on weekends. The law contained specific exceptions that allowed a juvenile to be in public during curfew hours if the juvenile was (1) with a parent; (2) running an errand for a parent, with a signed note; (3) working; (4) attending a supervised school, religious, or other civic activity; (5) engaged in interstate travel; (6) on a sidewalk next to the juvenile’s residence; (7) involved in an emergency; or (8) exercising a First Amendment right. The city passed the curfew law to reduce juvenile crime, to protect juveniles from being victims of crime, and to strengthen parents’ responsibility for and relationships with their children. A group of juveniles under age 16, an 18-year-old, and two parents (the challengers) (plaintiffs) sued the city, claiming that the law violated (1) the juveniles’ First Amendment rights and their constitutional right to liberty, (2) the 18-year-old’s First Amendment right to associate with younger friends, and (3) the parents’ constitutional right to choose how to raise their children. In response, the city presented evidence that juvenile crime during curfew hours had been rising, that juveniles were at risk of being the victims of crimes—including serious crimes like assaults, robberies, and rapes—during curfew hours, and that a curfew helped some parents to better control their children’s nighttime activity. The district court found that the law was constitutional. The challengers appealed that finding to the Fourth Circuit.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Wilkinson, C.J.)
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