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State of Florida v. T.M.

Case Conclusion Date: 08.16.2002

Practice Area: Constitutional

Outcome: The juvenile curfew law was ruled unconsitutional.

Description: Bruce Howie's client T.M., a 17 year-old girl, was charged with violating Pinellas Park's juvenile curfew law, which prohibited anyone under the age of 18 from being outside of their homes even with their parents' permission after 11:00 p.m. T.M.'s offense was standing on the curb of her girlfriend's house where she was spending the night with her mother's permission, talking to her girlfriend and two male friends some time after midnight on a weekend. Both T.M. and her mother faced six months in jail for this offense. Bruce Howie argued in the Pinellas Circuit Court juvenile division that the juvenile curfew ordinance was unconstitutional because it interfered with parents' rights to control the conduct of their children. The trial court agreed and the City of Pinellas Park appealed. Bruce Howie handled the appeals to the Second District Court of Appeal and then to the Florida Supreme Court. Although the District Court of Appeal at first reversed the decision, the Florida Supreme Court in two separate landmark rulings found that juvenile curfew laws were subject to strict scrutiny under the constitution and that this curfew ordinance was unconstitutional. This set a new standard under the law for juvenile curfew ordinances in the State of Florida.

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