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Residents Bring Huntington Curfew Up for Discussion Again…..
Councilman Rick Simmons asked to take the petition under advisement. He feared that the curfew could impact those attending community activities, such as Guyandotte’s Swine Festival.
A curfew ordinance narrowly passed council 6-5 n 2005 during the Felinton administration. It is patterned after one in Charleston, WV that was upheld by the West Virginia Supreme Court.
At the time the curfew was regarded as a “tool” for use by law enforcement.
Charleston’s ordinance contains broad exceptions such going to and from work as well as school, community, political and religious activities. Some vagueness exists concerning what First Amendment activities and what parental permissions are valid.
However, according to one source, the curfew in existence is not being enforced. At the time of the 2005 passage a police report stated there had been no citations issued in the last 15 years.
In a September 27, 2005 interview then Mayor Felinton told HNN that as written the curfew would likely affect teens attending (for instance) a Big Sandy Superstore Arena concert, a Marshall Artists Series program, or potentially those studying in the 24/7 center at the Drinko library.
Marty Amerikaner, then a MU professor of psychology and advisor to the student chapter of the ACLU, told council members
“It’s not a crime to go to a party”, Amerikaner said, adding that such an ordinance would not prevent crimes such as the deaths of four teens following a prom at a Charleston Avenue location.
Aside from arguing specific exceptions, the request to show an ID for determination of age was advanced as an invasion of privacy.
William Denman, then President of the WV American Civil Liberties Union, asked, “Who do you stop who looks under 18?” He added that a “likelihood” of racial profiling could occur. Denman stated that most juvenile crimes occur between 3 p.m. and dinner.
Further, during the 2005 council discussion, the ordinance’s penalties on parents potentially presented an issue for international students on campus.
MU student Shannon O’Dell questioned the First Amendment activities under adult supervision provision. He noted that some presidents of campus organizations are not adults.