Idaho Supreme Court to decide if curfew law valid

Idaho Supreme Court to decide if curfew law valid
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether the curfew rules in the tiny town of Wendell violate the constitutional rights of children.

The Idaho Court of Appeals ruled last year that the curfew rules requiring youths to be inside between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. effectively violated their free speech rights by controlling conduct and expression.

The appellate court noted that a child wishing to attend a midnight church service, participate in a late-running city council meeting or join a late-night protest would have to weigh those desires against the chance of getting a ticket for violating curfew.

Wendell city leaders began revamping its curfew rules after the appellate court decision, but the state opted to challenge the decision anyway and asked the Idaho Supreme Court to consider the case. Oral arguments will be held Feb. 10.

The case arose after a boy, referred to only as John Doe in the court files, was ticketed for violating curfew after the car he was riding in was stopped for a traffic violation at 1:30 a.m. Doe challenged the ticket all the way to the Idaho Court of Appeals, saying the curfew rules robbed parents of their liberty interest in directing the upbringing of their child and that the ordinance unconstitutionally interfered with freedom of expression and association.

Court records show Doe was supposed to be staying at a friends house that night but sneaked out of the home in search of a party.

At the time, the ordinance had three exceptions, allowing minors to be out after curfew only if they were running emergency errands, if they were accompanied by a parent or guardian or if they were on legitimate business authorized by a parent or the school.