San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 5th, 2009
Police chief wants to restore curfew

Moments before curfew by cdnsue @ Flickr.

Associate Editor

For juveniles in San Marcos, it is no longer illegal to roam the streets late at night or during school hours.

The city’s juvenile curfew law expired in May of 2007, but police continued writing citations. Those cited are now able to fight the legal system.

“We immediately told our officers to quit writing tickets once we found out the ordinance had expired,” said San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams. “We notified the city’s legal department and asked the court to dismiss everything written since May of 2007.”

Williams said juveniles affected by the expired ordinance should contact the municipal court to get a dismissal of the charges and their record expunged. He added that he doesn’t “see why they can’t get their money back” for any fines assessed, but ultimately that is up to the city’s legal department and the court.

State law requires curfew ordinances to expire every three years, forcing  municipalities revisit the issue. Williams said the San Marcos curfew was last reinstated on May 10, 2004.

San Marcos City Manager Rick Menchaca said the city is pushing towards a system that would easily identify any future ordinance expirations as well as any discrepancies in the city’s books.

“I’m the police chief, this is a penal ordinance, so I take full responsibility for not catching this mistake,” Williams said. “I think it’s pretty clear that it’s my responsibility and I just didn’t do it. But we’re moving to get the matter addressed.”

Williams is aiming to put the ordinance back on the books within a month. However, a public hearing will be required before the city council can approve the ordinance in two readings.

“This ordinance gives us some leverage of dealing with juveniles in the night,” Williams said. “The ordinance is sufficient as it stands so no new changes will be necessary. But the city council will ultimately decide what goes on the books.”

Last year, 68 curfew violation tickets were issued and 85 were handed out in 2007, some of which came after the May 10 expiration date.

The curfew legislation said juveniles under the age of 16 were not allowed on the streets between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays, and midnight to 6 a.m. on weekends. The ordinance also prohibited juveniles to be out “during normal school hours,” according to Williams. Those hours were defined as 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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0 thoughts on “Police chief wants to restore curfew

  1. Yes, this ordinance should be restored. The law is supported by the need for increased public safety and health. There is no need for minors to be out so late. Go home and read a book.

  2. Fast moving slugs! LOL I vaguely remember curfews from when I was a kid. We thought they were a joke. Generally, it was our parents who set curfews and we were a lot more scared of them. I don’t know of a single kid who ever got caught for curfew violation. Although looking back, they were probably profiling certain kids and I wasn’t one of them. Apparently curfews make grown-ups feel more safe.

    But curfews during daylight hours? Mr. Dictionary says: “curfew is an order establishing a specific time in the evening after which certain regulations apply, especially that no civilians or other specified group of unauthorized persons may be outdoors or that places of public assembly must be closed.” Mr. Dictionary doesn’t say anything about daylight hours….

  3. I think the curfew during daylight hours is so that teens dont ditch school. Which is a good thing.

  4. You have heard of the Nazi Soup guy, well Williams is a confused Nazi Curfew guy.
    And Lila you are so right, our parents back in the day, set curfews and 99% of my friends never broke them. Williams is using an AR-15 assault weapon to take care of a problem that starts at home and not on the street. Let’s return to common sense and hire a new police chief, one who knows when excessive force is being used!

  5. “I’m the police chief, this is a penal ordinance, so I take full responsibility for not catching this mistake,” Williams said. “I think it’s pretty clear that it’s my responsibility and I just didn’t do it.”

    Instead of making more powergrabbing legislation, Chief Williams should be more concerned about not letting ordinances expire and continue writing citations for a non-existing law! Incompetency everywhere in city government. This is so ridiculous.

  6. I don’t think a daytime curfew is warranted. HB 776 and HB 2237 allow the student found off campus to be escorted back to school. I don’t want to have to defend my children’s right to be out during those hours. Esp. when there is no evidence that these daytime curfews lower the truancy and crime rate.

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