The oral argument in court today focused on the severity of the penalty and the lack of protections that the law allows. For example, a high school student who is at a friend’s house working on a class project that takes them into the evening can be arrested on his way home — even if he has his parent’s permission to be out.
The lawyer for the defendants pointed out that his clients were doing nothing illegal besides just being out past 11:00. The judges seemed concerned about the state crossing the line of parents’ right to set rules for their children. Cities and towns across the country have been enacting juvenile curfews as a way to curb juvenile crime. However, as the court pointed out today, all of the reliable data shows that juvenile crime spikes in the hours right after school lets out, and dies down significantly during the evening hours.
A ruling is expected soon. To see the ACLU of Massachusetts brief, go to: