[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Edgeworth 5-18-1993 by Ord. No. 442. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance repealed former Ch. 53, Curfew, adopted 10-12-1964 by Ord. No. 337.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Curfew Ordinance."
This chapter prescribes, in accordance with prevailing community standards, regulations for the conduct of minors on streets and other public places at night, for the furtherance of family responsibility and for the public good, safety and welfare.
The Borough Council finds that the curfew meets a very real local need and has been, over the years, a significant factor in minimizing juvenile delinquency and should be updated and amplified in the light of the Borough's local situation and facts. The curfew hours declared by this chapter take into consideration the danger hours for nocturnal crime and for gatherings of minors with potential risks incident to immaturity.
The Borough is a stable family community. Parental responsibility for the whereabouts of children is the norm; legal sanctions to enforce such responsibility have had a demonstrated effectiveness over the years; as parental control increases, the likelihood of juvenile delinquency decreases; and there is a continuing need for the nocturnal curfew for minors, which has achieved and will continue to achieve, under local conditions, the purposes hereinbefore stated.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein:
- Any person who has not attained his or her 18th birthday.
- Any person having legal custody of a minor:
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any municipal park, school grounds, restaurant or other business establishment open to the general public.
- To stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon the streets, including the congregating of groups of minors in which any minor involved is not using the streets for ordinary or serious purposes, such as mere passage or going home. Exceptions are expressly defined in § 53-5, and more exceptions may become available with increasing years as appropriate in the interest of reasonable regulation which is intended by use of the meaningful phrase "be or remain," found constitutional in Baker v. Borough of Steelton, 17 Dauph. 17 (1912).
- A way or place, of whatever nature, open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel or, in the case of a sidewalk, for pedestrian travel. The term "street" includes the legal right-of-way, including but not limited to the cartway of traffic lanes, the curb, the sidewalks, whether paved or unpaved, and any grass plots or other grounds found within the legal right-of-way of a "street." The term "street" also applies, for curfew purposes, to ways the public is privileged to use over private property so long as the owner permits, including sidewalks and grass plots similarly open at the time to public use, and to parking areas of any type (residential, municipal or commercial) open to public use or from such "street" or any type of "street." The term "street" applies irrespective of what it is called or formally named, whether alley, avenue, court, road or otherwise, or whether it is maintained by the Borough and irrespective of whether it is open to the use of the public as a matter of right.
- TIME OF NIGHT
- Based upon the prevailing standard of time, whether Eastern standard time or Eastern daylight saving time, generally observed at that hour by the public in the Borough, prima facie the time then observed in the Borough administrative offices and police station.
When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular, and words in the singular number include the plural. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
It shall be unlawful for any person under 18 years of age to be or remain in or upon the streets or to be in any public place within the Borough at night during the period beginning at 11:00 p.m. and ending at 6:00 a.m.
In the following exceptional cases, a minor on a street or in a public place within the Borough during the nocturnal hours for which § 53-4 is intended to provide the maximum limits of regulation shall not, however, be considered in violation of this chapter:
When accompanied by a parent of such minor.
When accompanied by an adult authorized by a parent of such minor to take said parent's place in accompanying said minor for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area of the Borough.
When exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the right of assembly. Such minor shall evidence such exercise by first delivering to the Borough a written communication, signed by such minor and countersigned, if practicable, by a parent of such minor, with their home address and telephone number, specifying when, where and in what manner said minor will be on the streets or in a public place at night (during hours when this chapter is otherwise applicable to said minor) in the exercise of a First Amendment right specified in such communication.
In case of reasonable necessity, but only if such minor's parent has communicated to the Borough the facts establishing such reasonable necessity, relating to specified streets or public places at a designated time for a described purpose, including points of origin and destination. A copy of such communication or of the police record thereof duly certified by the Chief of Police to be correct, with an appropriate notation of the time it was received and of the names and address of such parent and minor, shall be admissible evidence.
When the minor is on the sidewalk of the place where such minor resides or on the sidewalk of either next-door neighbor not communicating an objection to the Borough.
When returning home by a direct route from and within 30 minutes of the termination of a school activity or an activity of a religious or other voluntary association.
When authorized by special permit from the Borough, carried on the person of the minor thus authorized, as follows: When necessary nighttime activities of a minor may be inadequately provided for by other provisions of this chapter, then recourse may be had to the Borough Manager either for a regulation as provided in Subsection A(8) or for a special permit, as the circumstances warrant. Upon the Manager's finding of necessity for the use of the streets to the extent warranted by a written application (as judicially approved in People v. Walton, 161 P.2d 498, 502-503, Cal. App. 1945), signed by a minor and by a parent of each minor, if feasible, stating the name, age and address of such minor; the name, address and telephone number of a parent thereof; the height, weight, sex, color of eyes and hair and other physical characteristics of such minor; the necessity which requires such minor to remain upon the streets or public place during the curfew hours otherwise applicable; and the street or public place or route and the beginning and ending of the period of time involved by date and hour, the Manager may grant a permit, in writing, for the use by such minor of such streets at such hours as, in the Manager's opinion, may reasonably be necessary. In an emergency, this may be handled by telephone or other effective communication, with a corresponding record being made contemporaneously, either to the Manager or, if unavailable, to the police officer designee authorized by the Manager to act on his/her behalf in an emergency.
When authorized by regulation issued by the Manager in other similar cases of reasonable necessity, similarly handled but adapted to necessary nighttime activities of more minors than can readily be dealt with on an individual special permit basis. Normally, such regulation by the Manager permitting use of the streets or presence in a public place should be issued sufficiently in advance to permit appropriate publicity through news media and through other agencies, such as the schools, and shall define the activity, the scope of the use of the streets or presence in a public place permitted, the period of time involved, not to extend more than 30 minutes beyond the time for termination of such activity, and the reason for finding that such regulation is reasonably necessary and is consistent with the purposes of this chapter.
When the minor carries a certified card of employment, renewable each calendar month when the current facts so warrant, dated or reissued not more than 45 days previously, signed by the Chief of Police and briefly identifying the minor, the addresses of his home and of his place of employment and his hours of employment.
When the minor is, with parental consent, in a motor vehicle. This contemplates normal travel, and clearly exempts bona fide interstate movement through the Borough. This also exempts interstate travel beginning or ending in the Borough.
Each of the foregoing exceptions and their several limitations, such as provisions for notification, is severable, as hereinafter provided but here reemphasized; and additional, also severable, exceptions, broadening with the progress toward maturity of minors enrolled respectively in elementary, junior high and high schools, will be considered by the Borough as warranted by future experience illuminated by the views of student government associations; school personnel; citizens; associations; ward, precinct and neighborhood spokesmen; parents; officers; and persons in authority concerned positively with minors as well as with juvenile delinquency.
It shall be unlawful for a parent of a minor knowingly to permit or by inefficient control to allow such minor to be or remain upon any street or in a public place within the Borough under circumstances not constituting an exception to or otherwise beyond the scope of this chapter. The term "knowingly" includes knowledge which a parent should reasonably be expected to have concerning the whereabouts of a minor in that parent's legal custody. It is intended to continue to keep neglectful or careless parents up to a reasonable community standard of parental responsibility through an objective test. It shall, a fortiori, be no defense that a parent was completely indifferent to the activities or conduct or whereabouts of such minor.
A policeman of the Borough, upon finding or having attention called to any minor on the streets or in a public place in prima facie violation of this chapter, normally shall take the minor to the Borough police station, where a parent shall immediately be notified to come for such minor. In the absence of convincing evidence, such as a birth certificate, a policeman on the street shall, in the first instance, use his best judgment in determining age.
Police procedures shall constantly be refined in the light of experience and may provide, inter alia, that the policeman may deliver to a parent thereof a minor under appropriate circumstances, for example, a minor of tender age near home whose identity and address may readily be ascertained or are known.
When a parent, immediately called, has come to take charge of the minor and the appropriate information has been recorded, the minor shall be released to the custody of such parent. If the parent cannot be located or fails to take charge of the minor, then the minor shall be released to the juvenile authorities, except to the extent that, in accordance with police regulations, the minor may temporarily be entrusted to a relative, neighbor or other person who will, on behalf of a parent, assume the responsibility of caring for the minor pending the availability or arrival of a parent.
In the case of a first violation by a minor, the Chief of Police shall, by certified mail, send to a parent written notice of said violation, with a warning that any subsequent violation will result in full enforcement of this chapter, including enforcement of parental responsibility and of applicable penalties.
If, after the warning notice pursuant to § 53-7 of a first violation by a minor, a parent violates § 53-6 (in connection with a second violation by said minor), this shall be treated as a first offense by the parent. For such first parental offense, a parent shall be fined $25, and for each subsequent offense by a parent, the fine shall be increased by an additional $25 (e.g., $50 for the second offense, $75 for the third offense). The District Justice, upon finding a parent guilty, shall sentence the parent to pay such fine and the costs of prosecution and, upon refusal to pay such fine and costs, to be imprisoned for a period not exceeding 30 days.
Any minor who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter more than three times shall be reported by the Borough Manager to a society or organization whose purpose it is to take charge of incorrigibles and delinquents, and proceedings shall then be taken, under the Juvenile Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 6801 et seq., before the Juvenile Court for the treatment, supervision and rehabilitation of such minor.
A like procedure before the juvenile authorities shall be followed in any case where the imposing of a fine or fines upon a parent shall not be effective or where, for any other reason, the provisions of this chapter cannot be made effective by the imposing of penalties under this section.
Severability is intended throughout and within the provisions of this chapter. If any provision, including, inter alia, any exception, part, phrase or term or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the application to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby, and the validity of this chapter in any and all other respects shall not be affected thereby. From an excess of caution, the Borough Manager is authorized to give advisory opinions, in writing or immediately reduced to writing. These opinions shall be binding, shall be adhered to by the police and shall interpret terms, phrases, parts or any provisions of this chapter. Normally, such advisory opinions shall be in response to good faith, signed letters, addressed to him/her or her at the Borough's administration building, questioning as ambiguous, as having a potentially chilling effect on constitutional rights specifically invoked or as otherwise invalid. This administrative remedy must be exhausted prior to presenting to any court any such question. The Borough Council does not intend a result that is absurd, impossible of execution or unreasonable. It is intended that this ordinance be held inapplicable in such cases, if any, where its application would be unconstitutional. A constitutional construction is intended and shall be given. The Borough Council does not intend to violate the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the Constitution of the United States of America.