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Under Pressure from Civil Liberties Group, Franklin Drops Youth Curfew

Jason Moon for NHPR
Downtown Franklin

The city of Franklin has dropped its youth curfew following pressure from the New Hampshire ACLU. 

In a statement, Mayor Ken Merrifield and the Franklin city council cited the cost of defending the ordinance in court in making their decision.

The curfew would have prevented children younger than 16 from being in public places after 9 o'clock on weeknights and 11 o'clock on weekends.

Gilles Bissonette, legal director for the New Hampshire ACLU, praised the decision, adding that the curfew’s wide scope would have infringed on the constitutional rights of minors.

“This type of ordinance would ban, for example, a 15 year old from running an errand for his mom who has to stay home to take care of a much younger sibling at 9 o’clock on a Thursday night,” said Bissonette.

Franklin reinstated the curfew last month following reports from local police and residents of unsupervised children out late at night. In their statement, Franklin officials called on state lawmakers to enact legislation that would make it possible for a curfew to survive a legal challenge.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.
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