Municipal Corporations – Police Power – Constitutional Validity of Curfew Ordinance

Appellant-petitioner was charged with a violation of a city ordinance making it a misdemeanor to assist any minor under the age of seventeen to violate the curfew laws. The curfew ordinance prohibits minors under the age of seventeen from being in any public place between IO P.M. and 5 A.M. unless accompanied by parent or guardian, or unless the presence of the minor is connected with and required by some legitimate business, trade, profession or occupation in which the minor is engaged. Petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint at the preliminary hearing on the grounds that the ordinance was an unreasonable interference with personal liberty and was therefore in violation of the California Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Upon denial of this motion, petitioner sought a writ of prohibition which was also denied. On appeal, held, denial of writ of prohibition reversed. The coverage of the ordinance has no real or substantial relationship to its purpose of controlling juveniles during the late hours of the night and accordingly is an unconstitutional invasion of personal liberties. Alves v. Justice Court of Chico Judicial District, (Cal. App. 1957) 306 P. (2d) 601.