|A report on the public hearing held by the Harris County Juvenile Curfew Review Committee|
|Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 2
Harris County Commissioners Court
|UPDATE.....SEPTEMBER 7, 2007|
The current curfew ordinance for unincorporated Harris County must be reviewed at three year intervals, to be continued, modified, or abolished. The Harris County Juvenile Curfew Review Committee was formed to research the need for the curfew and will make its recommendation to the Harris County Commissioners Court within a few days. The Court is scheduled to vote on the curfew at its September 11th session, though that vote could be delayed if more information is needed before voting.
Currently, the ordinance includes a night-time curfew only, from midnight to 6 a.m. The District Attorney's office is recommending that the curfew be expanded to cover the hours between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The August 29th hearing was scheduled by the committee when committee members realized that the education community had not received sufficient notice to allow good attendance at an earlier hearing, when law enforcement officials presented evidence to support the curfew expansion.
Argument for a Daytime Curfew
Testimony at the Aug. 29 Hearing
Speakers expressed their appreciation for the hard work of the committee and of law enforcement, but questioned the validity of the district attorney's logic in thinking that a daytime curfew would significantly lower crime, thinking instead that it will only serve to undermine their rights to educate their children privately. One eloquent speaker assured the committee, with some heat, that her grandfather did not fight the Nazis in World War II, only to have his great-grandchildren stopped and asked for their "papers" on the streets of Harris County. One committee member also read a letter from State Rep. Patricia Harless into the record, opposing the curfew expansion. Though his attendance at the hearing was brief, County Judge Ed Emmett expressed great concern and indicated that he was leaning strongly against the curfew expansion. At the close of testimony, attendees were asked to indicate their opposition to the extended curfew, and 35 did so. Juvenile Curfew Review Committee Senior Assistant County Attorney Janet Marton reported all of her email on the topic was running in opposition. One committee member noted that the City of Houston currently has a daytime curfew, and that no controversy about it had come to his attention.
to Do Now
If you want to write to the County Commissioners or County Judge, their contact information may be found at
You may also appear at the County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, September 11th, (meeting begins at 10 a.m). Follow this link to sign up to speak at that meeting.
The Harris County Juvenile Curfew Review Committee has promised to email their recommendation to everyone who attended the Aug. 29th hearing, and this report will be updated with that information when it comes.
Text of 9/7/07 email from the office of County Judge Ed Emmett:
The committee recommends that the
evening curfew remain in place and that more information will be required
before a daytime curfew can be considered by the committee. Bottom
line: No daytime curfew. Commissioners
Court will consider the committee's recommendation at 10AM on September
11, 2007, in Commissioners Courtroom (Where our hearing was).
On behalf of County Judge Ed
Emmett and the committee I thank you for
your participation and input.
Click here to view the committee's official recommendation to the court.