COLUMBIA, S.C. — Legal questions are blocking a citywide, 11 p.m. curfew for anyone 17 and younger .
While the curfew enjoys the unanimous support of City Council, officials are worried about a possible scenario under the law that, so far, the city’s attorney has been unable to answer. What if, when a police officer takes custody of a curfew-breaking child, the parents refuse to pick up the child? Would the city retain custody? Would the city be liable for that child’s safety? Would the Department of Juvenile Justice have to get involved?
“Invariably, you’re going to find yourself in an interesting situation, where the parents really are not as engaged,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said. “You’ll find yourself with someone’s child and a parent who is not interested in seeing them come home. We’ve got to be prepared for that.”
City Attorney Ken Gaines, who raised the issue, has refused to discuss his concerns publicly. He will only discuss it with City Council members when they are in executive session – meetings closed to the public. The reason, Gaines said, is because he is giving legal advice and if he were to speak publicly he would violate attorney-client privilege.
About a dozen cities in South Carolina have curfews, none of which have been challenged in court. Greenville’s curfew, in place since 2009, is from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and only applies to the city’s downtown area. Myrtle Beach’s curfew, also in place since 2009, is from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. and is citywide.
Reada the full story at thestate.com