CAMBRIDGE – The juvenile curfew ordinance that was successfully passed by The Cambridge City Council on Sept. 25 will go into effect on Oct. 1.
The move comes after a trial period earlier this year, during which the city tested a temporary curfew to reduce numbers of youths out of their homes at night. The curfew came after an outcry from citizens regarding youth-related crime.
After the temporary curfew expired, Police Chief Justin Todd said his officers had reported that it was effective. The full text of the ordinance re-establishing the curfew is below.
ORDINANCE NO. 1229 – AS AMENDED
An ordinance of the commissioners of Cambridge, Maryland continuing the temporary juvenile curfew within the city of Cambridge enacted pursuant to ordinance no. 1207 for an additional period of 12 months; providing that the title of this ordinance shall be deemed a fair summary and generally relating to curfews in the city of Cambridge.
WHEREAS, pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Local Gov’t § 5-202 and § 3-27(1) of the Charter of the City of Cambridge (the “Charter”), the Commissioners of Cambridge are generally authorized and empowered to pass ordinances not contrary to the Constitution and laws of the State of Maryland or the Charter as they may deem necessary for the good government of the City of Cambridge (the “City”); for the protection and preservation of the City’s property, rights, and privileges; for the preservation of peace and good order; for securing persons and property from violence, danger, or destruction; and for the protection and promotion of the health, safety, comfort, convenience, welfare, and happiness of the residents of the City and visitors thereto and sojourners therein; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to Md. Code Ann, Local Gov’t § 5-207(c)(4) and § 3-27(16) of the Charter, the Commissioners of Cambridge are specifically authorized and empowered to establish a curfew to prevent the youth of the town from being in the streets, lands, alleys, or public places at unreasonable hours of the night; and
WHEREAS, on January 9, 2023, the Commissioners of Cambridge passed Ordinance No. 1207 for the purpose of enacting a temporary juvenile curfew in the City as a pilot program effective February 1, 2023, and expiring June 30, 2023, unless otherwise extended by a subsequent ordinance of the Commissioners of Cambridge; and
WHEREAS, based upon recommendations and data provided by the City Manager and the City’s Chief of Police, the Commissioners of Cambridge are desirous of continuing the temporary juvenile curfew for an additional period of twelve (12) months, effective October 1, 2023, with the same to automatically terminate and expire on September 30, 2024, unless otherwise extended or approved as part of the Code of the City of Cambridge (the “City Code”) by a subsequent Ordinance of the Commissioners of Cambridge; and
WHEREAS, the Commissioners of Cambridge find that the provisions set forth herein are necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
SECTION 1. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Commissioners of Cambridge that a juvenile curfew for the City of Cambridge be and is hereby enacted, as follows:
(1) “Emergency” means an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action. The term includes, but is not limited to, a fire, natural disaster, or automobile accident, or any situation requiring immediate action to prevent serious bodily injury or loss of life.
(2) “Juvenile” or “minor” means any unemancipated person under the age of seventeen (17) years.
(3) “Operator” means any individual, firm, association, partnership, or corporation operating, managing, or conducting any place open to the public. The term includes the members or partners of an association or partnership and the officers of a corporation.
(3) “Parent(s)” means any person having temporary or permanent care or custody of a juvenile as a natural or adoptive parent, as a legal guardian, as a person standing in loco parentis, or as a person to whom legal custody has been given by court order.
(4) “Place open to the public” means any privately-owned place of business operated for a profit to which the public is invited, including, but not limited to, any place of amusement or entertainment, regardless of whether a charge for admission or entry is made.
(5) “Public place” means any place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access and includes, but is not limited to, streets, common areas of schools, shopping centers, parking lots, parks, playgrounds, transportation facilities, theaters, restaurants, shops, bowling alleys, taverns, cafes, arcades, and similar areas that are open to the use of the public.
(6) “Remain” means to stay behind, to tarry and to stay unnecessarily in a public place, including the congregating of groups (or of interacting minors) totaling three or more persons in which any juvenile involved would not be using the streets for ordinary or serious purposes, such as mere passage or going home, or to fail to leave the premises of a place open to the public when requested to do so by a police officer or the operator of a place open to the public.
(7) “Street” means any public right-of-way, including, but not limited to, the cartway of traffic lanes; the curb; the sidewalks, whether paved or unpaved; and any grass plots or other grounds found within the legal right-of-way of a street.
“Local Care Team” means a collaborative group of the local child- and family-serving agencies in Dorchester County, including the City, that are led by the Local Management Board and include the following: the Dorchester County Public School System, the Dorchester Department of Social Services, the Dorchester Health Department (including their substance abuse and mental health services), and the local office of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. Upon agreement of a majority of the members of the Local Care Team, it may also include on a case-by-case basis other service organizations or individuals as determined by the regular members of the Local Care Team to have relevant information regarding a child or family or could be a resource for the child or family.
(1) 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights; and
(2) 10 p.m. on all other nights.
(1) When the juvenile is accompanied by the juvenile’s parent.
(2) When the juvenile is accompanied by an adult authorized by the juvenile’s parent to take the parent’s place in accompanying the juvenile for a designated period of time and purpose within a specified area.
(3) When the juvenile is on an errand as directed by the juvenile’s parent until the hour of 12:30 a.m.
(4) When the juvenile is exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly, by first delivering to the person designated by the City’s Chief of Police to receive such information a written communication, signed by the juvenile and countersigned, if practicable, by a parent of the juvenile. The communication shall include the parent’s home address and telephone number and specify when, where, and in what manner the juvenile will be in a public place during hours when this Ordinance is otherwise applicable to minors.
(5) In case of reasonable necessity for the juvenile remaining in a public place, but only after the juvenile’s parent has communicated to the person designated by the City’s Chief of Police to receive such notifications the facts establishing the reasonable necessity relating to a specified public place at a designated time for a designated purpose, including points of origin and destination.
(6) When the juvenile is on the property where the juvenile resides.
(7) When the juvenile is returning home by a direct route (without any unnecessary frolic or detour or stop) from and within one (1) hour of the termination of: employment; a school activity; an activity of a religious or other voluntary association; or a place of public entertainment, such as a movie, play, or sporting event.
When the juvenile is, with parental consent, engaged in normal interstate travel through the City or originating or terminating in the City.
(9) In the case of an operator of a place open to the public, when the operator has notified the police that the juvenile was present on the premises of the place open to the public during curfew hours and refused to leave.
(1) The police officer shall notify the juvenile that the juvenile is in violation of this Ordinance and order the juvenile to go promptly home. The Chief of Police or their designated representative shall send a written violation notice to the parent(s) of the juvenile and, with a copy to the Local Care Team.
(2) If the juvenile is not cooperative with the officer, or if the juvenile has previously violated this Ordinance, the officer shall, if possible, immediately notify the parent(s) to come for the juvenile. If the police officer is unable to immediately notify the parent(s), they shall order the juvenile to go promptly home. If the juvenile has previously violated this Ordinance, The the Chief of Police or their designated representative shall send a written violation notice to the parent(s) of the juvenile and the Local Care Team requesting that the Local Care Team evaluate the juvenile and the family’s past and current involvement with the local child serving agencies and assess the need and eligibility for voluntary services for the juvenile and/or family. If the juvenile and/or family are in need of, and eligible for, such services, the Local Care Team shall contact the parent(s) to request that they attend and participate in a meeting with the Local Care Team regarding those services for which they are eligible.
(a) In the event the juvenile or family, despite being eligible to do so, is unwilling to participate in voluntary services offered by the Local Care Team or starts to participate and then fails to continue their participation or comply with the agreed upon services, the Cambridge Police Department is authorized to issue a citation and impose a fine as set forth in Subsection (G) below. Additionally, the Local Care Team, through one of its member agencies, in its sole discretion and as permitted by applicable State laws and regulations, may file a CINS (Child in Need of Supervision) complaint or petition with the local office of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services seeking court assistance regarding the juvenile and/or family.
(b) If the Local Care Team or its members decline to file a complaint or petition as set forth in subsection (a) above, the Cambridge Police Department may do so as it determines it necessary to address the family issues related to the child and to the extent permitted by applicable State laws and regulations.
(c) The Cambridge Police Department shall not issue a citation or impose a fine upon any parent(s) who participate fully in the voluntary services offered by the Local Care Team.
(3) The Local Care Team and the Cambridge Police Department are encouraged to collect and share data that will help both determine the effectiveness of their efforts.
(1) Subject to the provisions of Subsection (F)(2)(a) above, a parent(s) shall be deemed to have violated this Ordinance in the event of a subsequent curfew violation by the juvenile following receipt of an initial written violation notice as set forth in Subsection (F)(1) above, in which case such violation shall be treated as a first offense by the parent(s) and shall be punishable as a municipal infraction and subject to a fine as set forth in Subsection (G)(2)(i) below. A second violation by the parent(s) shall also be punishable as a municipal infraction and subject to a fine as set forth in Subsection (G)(2)(ii) below. Subsequent violations by the parent(s) shall be punishable as set forth in Subsection (G)(3) below.
(2) The penalties for a violation of this Ordinance are as follows:
(i) $50 for a first offense; and
(ii) $100 for a second offense.
(3) Third or subsequent violations of this Ordinance by the parent shall be forwarded to the Dorchester County State’s Attorney’s Office for review and, to the extent permitted by law, may result in additional criminal charges against the parent pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Courts & Jud. Proc. § 3-8A-30, punishable by a fine of not more than $2,500 and/or imprisonment for not more than three years.
SECTION 2. This Ordinance is not intended to become part of the City Code.
SECTION 3 The recitals to this Ordinance are incorporated herein and deemed a substantive part of this Ordinance.
SECTION 4. With respect to the substantive provisions of this Ordinance, language added after the date of introduction is in bold, italicized font and language deleted after the date of introduction is crossed out with a double strikethrough.
SECTION 5. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this Ordinance is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct, and independent provision and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance, it being the intent of the Commissioners of Cambridge that this Ordinance shall stand, notwithstanding the invalidity of any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion hereof.
SECTION 6. All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with the provisions of this Ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.
SECTION 7. The title of this Ordinance, or a condensed version thereof, shall be deemed to be, and is, a fair summary of this Ordinance for publication and all other purposes.
SECTION 8. This Ordinance shall become effective on Oct. 1, 2023, and shall expire on Sept. 30, 2024.