Court Approves Ville Platte Curfew Settlement

City Agrees Not to Reinstate Curfew Except Under Compelling Circumstances

January 17, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW ORLEANS — After an ACLU -sponsored lawsuit concerning a 10 pm mandatory walking curfew in the City of Ville Platte, a federal court today signed off on a consent decree under which the City has agreed not to enact future curfews without a compelling need.

From February 11 through  October 13, 2011, the City of Ville Platte had a curfew that prohibited walking outside after 10 pm.  After more than 100 people were cited and, in many cases, jailed, for no more than walking the streets at night, local resident Arthur Sampson filed suit to have the oppressive ordinance struck down. After the lawsuit was filed the City terminated the curfew and has now agreed not to reinstate it except under the most limited and compelling circumstances.

"This is a victory for the people of Ville Platte," said Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana.  "In a free society people must have the right to move about as they choose.  That right has been restored in Ville Platte, where it should not have been taken away to begin with."

The consent decree specifies that future curfews will be only "the least restrictive measure necessary to achieve a compelling need."  The simple fear of crime is not such a compelling need, and Ville Platte residents are now protected against future restrictions based on fear alone.

In addition, the City agreed to reimburse the ACLU of Louisiana and cooperating attorney William Goode approximately $16,893.48 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

A copy of the Consent Decree can be found here: https://www.laaclu.org/resources/2013/011713VillePlatteConsent.pdf

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