Village of Westfield, NY
Chautauqua County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Westfield 9-18-1995 by L.L. No. 3-1995. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be entitled "A Local Law of the Village of Westfield, County of Chautauqua, New York, Establishing a Curfew for Minor Children Under the Age of Eighteen Years."
A. 
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Village of Westfield to minimize nocturnal crime, juvenile delinquency and vandalism, and to prevent the destruction and damage of both public and private property. The Village of Westfield seeks to promote the safety and general welfare of its residents by prescribing, in accordance with prevailing community standards, a local law concerning the presence of minors on streets, roads, highways, public parks or on other public areas of the Village at night, for the good of minors, for the furtherance of family responsibility, and for the health, safety and welfare of the public.
B. 
Parental responsibility for the location and activities of children is the accepted norm in this community. Legal sanctions to enforce such responsibility have had a demonstrable effect in many communities over the years. As parental control increases, there is a likelihood that juvenile delinquency will decrease. The Board of Trustees of the Village of Westfield finds that a curfew for minors will meet a very local need and will reinforce the primary authority and responsibility of parents and guardians over minors.
C. 
It is not the intent of this chapter to supplant parental supervision and control. The Board recognizes the right of parents to direct their children's upbringing and family autonomy against unreasonable interference. The Board also recognizes that under certain circumstances, the harm to the physical or mental health of a child or to the safety, health and welfare of the public may as a whole outweigh the qualified right of parental autonomy.
D. 
It is also not the intent of this chapter to deprive minors of their ability to exercise valid rights secured under the Constitution of the United States or under the State of New York that are enjoyed by all citizens of the community. The function of this chapter is to protect juveniles and to balance the right of all citizens of the Village of Westfield, so that the public as a whole may enjoy the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitutions and the laws of this country and of this state.
A. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings provided herein:
MINOR
Any person under the age of 18 years or, in equivalent phrasing, any person 17 years of age or less.
PARENT
Any person having legal custody of a minor as a natural or adoptive parent, as a legal guardian, as a person who stands in loco parentis or as a person to whom legal custody has been given by court order.
PUBLIC AREAS
Any place to which the public has access, including but not limited to a public street, road, thoroughfare, sidewalk, bridge, alley, plaza, park, library premises, school, recreation or shopping area, public transportation facility, vehicles used for a public transportation, parking lot or any other public building structure or area.
STREET, ROAD AND HIGHWAY
A way or place, of whatever nature, open to the use of the public as a matter of right for purposes of vehicular or pedestrian travel. These terms include, but are not limited to, the legal right-of-way, traffic lanes, curbs, sidewalks and any grass plots or other ground found within the legal right-of-way of a "street," "road" or "highway." These terms apply irrespective of what they are called or formally named, whether an alley, avenue, court, drive, boulevard or otherwise.
TIME OF NIGHT
The prevailing standard of time that is generally observed by the public as constituting night.
VILLAGE
The Village of Westfield, County of Chautauqua, State of New York.
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for any person under the age of 18 years to be or loiter or remain in or upon the streets, roads, highways, public parks or other public areas within the Village of Westfield at night during the period beginning at 11:00 p.m. and ending at 6:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and beginning at 12:00 p.m. and ending at 6:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
A minor on or upon a Village street, road, highway, public park or other public area during the nighttime hours for which this chapter applies shall not be considered in violation of this chapter under the following circumstances:
A. 
When the minor is also accompanied by a parent of such minor;
B. 
When the minor is also accompanied by an adult authorized by a parent of such minor to take said parent's place in accompanying the minor for a designated period of time and purposes within a specified area;
C. 
When the minor is exercising First Amendment rights protected under the Constitution of the United States, such as the free exercise of religion, speech and assembly, provided that such minor can evidence the intention of such exercise by exhibiting to enforcement personnel a written statement, signed by the minor and by a parent of such minor, specifying when, where and in what manner the minor will be on public areas at night during hours when this chapter is otherwise applicable, and specifying the home address and telephone number of said minor;
D. 
In the case of reasonable necessity for the minor to be or remain on public areas, provided that such minor can evidence and establish, by exhibiting to enforcement personnel a written statement signed by the minor and by a parent of such minor, the reasonable necessity relating to specific public areas at a designated time for a described purpose including points of origin and destination, specifying when, where and in what manner the minor will be on public areas at night during hours when this chapter is otherwise applicable, and specifying the home address and telephone number of said minor;
E. 
When the minor is on the sidewalk or property immediately in front of the place where such minor resides;
F. 
When the minor is engaged in or traveling directly to or from a place of employment;
G. 
When the minor is engaged in an errand involving a certified medical emergency;
H. 
When the minor is, with parental consent, in a motor vehicle and is engaged in normal travel to and from a set destination. It is the intention of this provision to clearly exempt bona fide interstate movements along major routes through the Village of Westfield and interstate travel beginning or ending in the Village of Westfield.
I. 
When the minor is returning home from and within one hour after the termination of school- or Village-sponsored activity or an activity of a religious or other voluntary association, provided that such minor can evidence the written permission of a parent, signed by the minor and a parent of said minor, and including the home address and telephone number of the minor and the place and probable time of termination of the activity;
J. 
When authorized by a special permit from the Village Clerk or by a resolution duly passed by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Westfield, provided that such allowances are granted in writing and are based upon a finding that they are reasonably necessary.
A. 
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for a parent to knowingly permit or, by reckless control, to allow a minor under the age of 16 to be, remain or loiter upon any street, road, highway, public park or other public areas of the Village of Westfield under circumstances not constituting an exception to, or otherwise beyond the scope of, this chapter. The term "knowingly" shall include the knowledge which a parent should reasonably be expected to have concerning the location and activities of a minor in that parent's legal custody, and shall be judged through an objective test. The Board of Trustees of the Village of Westfield intends by this chapter to provide an incentive for neglectful and careless parents to maintain a reasonable community standard of parental control and responsibility. It shall be no defense that a parent was completely indifferent to the location and activities of such minor.
B. 
Any law enforcement officer, upon finding any minor on or upon the streets, roads, highways, public parks or other public areas of the Village of Westfield in prima facie violation of this chapter, shall ascertain the name, address and age of said minor and may then take the minor into custody.
C. 
Upon charging a minor under the age of 16 with a violation of this chapter, the Police Department shall notify the parents. Such notice shall be given by telephone, personally by a member of the Village of Westfield Police or in writing sent by regular or certified mail to the parents' last known address. If at any time following the giving of notice as provided herein that minor is again charged with a violation of the curfew provisions of local law, then it shall be rebuttably presumed that the minor committed such subsequent violation with the knowledge, allowance or permission of the parents, and the parent shall thereupon be charged with a violation of this chapter.
A. 
It shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter for a minor 16 years of age and older to remain or loiter upon any street, road, highway, public park or other public area of the Village of Westfield under circumstance's not constituting an exception to, or otherwise beyond the scope of, this chapter.
B. 
Any law enforcement officer, upon finding any minor on or upon the streets, roads, highways, public parks or other public areas of the Village of Westfield in prima facie violation of this chapter, shall ascertain the name, address and age of said minor and may then take the minor into custody.
Any person convicted of violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of not more than $250 and/or imprisonment for not more than 10 days, or both. If the violation is committed by a minor 16 years of age or older, such violation shall be enforced directly against the minor, subject to any protection available to the minor under any other provisions of law.
This chapter shall be liberally construed to effectuate the stated purpose and intent of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Westfield in enacting such provisions.
Notice of the enactment of this chapter and of the curfew regulations established by it shall be posted in or about several public places in the Village of Westfield as may be determined by the Police Chief of the Village of Westfield, in order to ensure that the public is fully informed of the existence of this chapter and its regulations.
A curfew local law is a statutorily permissible exercise of the police power of the municipality. See Bykofsky vs. Borough of Middleton, 401 F.Supp. 1242; and Neprstak vs. City of Norwich 545 F.2d 815.