Town of Madison, ME
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Madison 11-15-2002; printed as amended 6-11-2007. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Parks and recreation areas — See Chs. 285 and 667.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as "Curfew Ordinance."
This is an updating of the Town of Madison ordinance prescribing, in accordance with prevailing community standards, regulations for the conduct of minors on streets at night, effectively enforced, taught in the homes, internalized and adhered to for generations, all for the good of minors, for the furtherance of family responsibility, and for the public good, safety and welfare.
Effect on juvenile delinquency. The Madison Board of Selectmen finds that the curfew meets a very real local need, has been over the years a significant factor in minimizing juvenile delinquency and should be updated and amplified in the light of the Town's local situation and facts, including the following.
Proper time for outdoor activities. This community sense of the proper time for cessation of outdoor activities by minors on the streets is reflected in the curfew hours declared by this chapter which takes into consideration also the danger hours for nocturnal crime and for accumulations of minors with potential risks incident to immaturity.
No commercial recreational facilities. Commercial recreational facilities for juveniles are almost nonexistent and there is little or nothing for minors to do outdoors but roam the streets after the curfew hours which this chapter declares.
Parental responsibility. 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 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 purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words, and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein. 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.
Any person under the age of 18, or, equivalent phrasing often herein employed, any person 17 or less years of age.
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 order of court.
To stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily upon the streets, including the congregating of groups (or of interacting minors) totaling four or more persons in which any minor involved would not be using the streets for ordinary or serious purposes such as mere passage or going home. To implement that thought with additional precision and precaution, numerous exceptions are expressly defined in § 173-5 so that this is not a mere prohibitory or presence type curfew ordinance. More and more exceptions become available with increasing years and advancing maturity as appropriate in the interest of reasonable regulation which is intended by use of the meaningful phrase "be or remain" as relating to a curfew ordinance of the "remaining" type.
A way or place, of whatsoever nature, open to the use of the public as a matter of right for purposes of vehicular travel or in the case of a sidewalk thereof for pedestrian travel. The term "street" includes the legal right-of-way, including but not limited to the cartway or traffic lanes, the curb, the sidewalks, whether paved or unpaved, and any grass plots or other grounds found within the legal right-of-way, including but not limited to the cartway or 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" applies irrespective of what it is called or formally named, whether alley, avenue, court, road or otherwise.
Referred to herein is 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 Town, prima facie the time then observed in the Madison Town Office and Police Station.
The Town of Madison, Somerset County, Maine.
Continues from one birthday, such as the 17th, to (but not including the day of) the next, such as the 18th, birthday, making it clear that 18 years of age. The latter phrase in practice, unfortunately, having confused a number of persons into the mistaken thought that 18 year olds might be involved. Similarly, for example, 11 or less years of age means "under 12 years of age."
It shall be unlawful for any person 17 or less years of age (under 18) to be or remain in or upon the streets within the Town at night during the period ending at 5:00 a.m. and beginning at 10:00 p.m.
In the following exceptional cases a minor on a Town street during the nocturnal hours for which § 173-4 is intended to provide the maximum limits of regulation (and a clear general guide for minors, their parents and their fellow citizens) shall not, however, be considered in violation of this chapter:
Parent. When accompanied by a parent of such minor.
Authorized adult. When accompanied by an adult authorized by a parent of such minor to take the parent's place in accompanying the minor for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.
First Amendment rights. 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 the bona fides of such exercise by first delivering to communications center personnel at the Police Station, where and by whom high priority messages to the Police Chief are regularly received, a written communication, signed by such minor and countersigned if practicable by a parent of such minor with their home address and telephone number, addressed to the Police Chief, specifying when, where and in what manner the minor will be on the streets at night (during hours when this chapter is otherwise applicable to the minor) in the exercise of a First Amendment right specified in such communication.
Reasonable necessity. In case of reasonable necessity but only after such minor's parent has communicated to the Town Police Station personnel the facts establishing such reasonable necessity relating to specified streets 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.
Sidewalk near residence. 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 Police Officer.
Returning home. 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, of which prior notice, indicating the place and probable time of termination, has been given in writing to, and duly filed for immediate reference by, the Chief of Police or the officer assigned by him on duty at the Police Station, thus encouraging (here as in other exceptional situations) conduct on the part of minors involved in such activities and striking a fair balance for any somewhat conflicting interests.
Special permit: Police Chief. When authorized by special permit from the Police Chief, 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, the recourse may be had to the Police Chief, either for a regulation as provided in Subsection H or for a special permit as the circumstances warrant. Upon the Police Chief's finding of necessity for the use of the streets to the extent warranted by a written application signed by a minor and by a parent of such minor if feasible, stating a) the name, age and address of such minor, b) the name, address and telephone number of a parent thereof, c) the height, weight, sex, color of eyes and hair and other physical characteristics of such minor, d) the necessity which requires such minor to remain upon the streets during the curfew hours otherwise applicable, and e) the street or route and the beginning and ending of the period of time involved by date and hour, the Police Chief may grant a permit in writing for the use by such minor of such streets at such hours as may 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 Police Chief, or if unavailable, to the police officer authorized by the Chief to act on his behalf in an emergency, at the Police Station.
By regulation. When authorized, by regulation issued by the Police Chief, in other similar cases of reasonable necessity, similarly handled but adapted to normal or necessary nighttime activities of more minors that can readily be dealt with on an individual special permit basis. Normally such regulation by the Police Chief or permitting use of the streets 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 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 public interest and the purposes of this chapter.
Employment. When the minor carries a certified card of employment, renewable each calendar year, signed by the Chief of Police and briefly identifying the minor, the address of his home and of his place of employment, and his hours of employment.
In motor vehicle. When the minor is, with parental consent, in a motor vehicle, this contemplates normal travel. From excess of caution, this clearly exempts bona fide interstate movement through Madison, particularly on normal routes. This also exempts interstate travel beginning or ending in Madison.
Additional exceptions. Each of the foregoing exceptions, and their several limitations such as provisions for notification, are 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 Selectmen as warranted by future experience illuminated by the views of student government associations, school personnel, citizens, associations 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 having legal custody of a minor knowingly to permit or by inefficient control, to allow, such minor to be or remain upon any Town street 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.
General. A policeman of the Town, upon finding or having attention called to any minor on the streets in prima facie violation of this chapter, normally shall take the minor to the Town Police Station, where a parent shall immediately be notified to come for such minor, whereupon they shall be interrogated. This is intended to permit ascertainment, under constitutional safeguards, of relevant facts and to centralize responsibility in the officer there and then on duty for accurate, effective, fair, impartial and uniform enforcement and recording, thus making available experienced supervisory personnel, the best of facilities and access to information and records. In the absence of convincing evidence such as a birth certificate, a police officer on the street shall in the first instance use his best judgment in determining age.
Refinement. Police procedures shall constantly be refined in the light of experience and may provide, inter alia, that the police officer 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.
Written report. In any event, such police officer shall within 24 hours file a written report with the Chief of Police, or shall participate to the extent of the information for which he is responsible in the preparation by himself and the officer involved is such case, and in the filing, of such report within 24 hours.
Release of minor. 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, approved in advance by juvenile authorities, 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.
First violation. In the case of a first violation by a minor, the Chief of Police shall, by first-class mail or hand delivered by an officer, send to a parent written notice of the 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.
Prevailing community standards and the real internalization thereof or interpersonal sanctions therefor that in practice count for much, as to when minors should be off the streets, reflected in this chapter, are hereby undergirded with the following legal sanctions.
First offense by parent. If, after the warning notice pursuant to § 173-7 of a first violation by a minor, a parent violated § 173-4 (in connection with a second violation by the minor), this shall be treated as a first offense by the parent. For such first parental offense a parent shall be fined $50 and for each subsequent offense by a parent, the fine shall be increased by an additional $50, e.g., $100 for the second, $150 for the third offense. The Twelfth District Court Judge, 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 in the jail of Somerset County for a period not exceeding 10 days.
Third offense by minor. Any minor who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter more than three times shall be reported by the Police Chief to a society or organization whose purpose it is to take charge of incorrigibles and delinquents and proceedings shall then be taken before the Juvenile Court for the treatment, supervision and rehabilitation of such minor.
Fines ineffective. A like procedure, before the juvenile authorities, shall be followed in any case where the imposing of a fine 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 excess of caution, the Police Chief is authorized to give advisory opinions, in writing or immediately reduced to writing, which shall be binding, and shall be adhered to by the police, until the chapter is amended in such respect, interpreting terms, phrases, parts or any provision. Normally such advisory opinions shall be in response to good faith, signed letters addressed to him at the Police Station, questioning a) as ambiguous, b) as having a potentially chilling effect on constitutional rights specifically invoked, or c) as otherwise invalid, in all three categories with respect to proposed conduct definitely described. This administrative remedy must be exhausted prior to presenting to any court a question in any of the three categories. The Town does not intend a result that is absurd, impossible of execution, or unreasonable. It is intended that this chapter be held inapplicable in such cases, if any, where its application would be unconstitutional. A constitutional construction is intended and shall be given. The Town does not intend to violate the Constitution of the State of Maine or the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Town will continue its evaluation and updating of this chapter as follows:
Reports to Selectmen. Accordingly, there shall be compiled and informally reported to the Selectmen through effective channels (such as the normal monthly distribution by the Town Manager and Town Clerk, to each Selectmen, the Town Manager and the Town Attorney, of noteworthy material) all exceptional cases hereunder of reasonable necessity, the notices of school and other activities, the Police Chief's special permits and the Chief's regulations hereinbefore authorized, and the Police Chief's advisory opinions, for consideration by the appropriate committee and by the Selectmen in further updating and continuing evaluation of this chapter.
Volunteer programs. For the same reasons, as well as for the implementation beyond these legal aspects of the basic purposes, hereof, the Town Manager and relevant committees of the Town through their respective chairman in coordinated efforts, shall work with existing, and may organize, voluntary groups, and shall stimulate volunteer leadership, in programs or research and of action dealing constructively on neighborhood and local bases, with juvenile delinquency, and the prevention, control or containment thereof, in all its ramifications and with practicable steps toward the good life, and a better life, for minors 17 years of age, and with the working of this chapter, community-wise and in individual cases, as one much needed legal tool toward that end as well as for continuing present protection of minors and of other persons, and of property and other interests, important to the welfare of the people of the Town of Madison.