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Court Upholds DC’s Teen Curfew Law

June 19, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Teen-agers do not have the right to wander the streets late at night, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in upholding the District of Columbia’s youth curfew law.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled the 1995 law governing district children younger than 17 does not violate their rights or interfere with the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, The Washington Post reported.

A majority of the 11-judge court said the law gives parents almost total discretion over their children’s late-night activities and, in fact, helps parents control their children.

Critics of the law, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, say they oppose the ruling but have not decided whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear a similar case in March.

``I disagree because I think there is a right of free movement,″ said lawyer Robert S. Plotkin, who argued the case against the law. ``We’re also concerned that the court made short shrift of the role of the parents and the parents’ rights.″

But D.C. Council Member Harold Brazil said he was ``delighted″ with the ruling. He said the law will reduce youth violence and gang activity.

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