Ville Platte Curfew Violates First Amendment Rights, Says ACLU

Lawsuit Filed To Strike down law keeping people Indoors at Night FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; NEW ORLEANS, LA – The ACLU of Louisiana has filed suit to invalidate a Ville Platte ordinance that requires city residents to remain off the streets after 10 pm. The ordinance, a “walking curfew” that applies to pedestrians but not to drivers, was first enacted last year on a temporary basis and has been repeatedly renewed for additional short-term intervals. The penalty for violating the curfew is a fine of $200 or jail time. Art Sampson, the plaintiff in this action, has been prevented from visiting relatives and friends as a pedestrian out of fear of arrest and a stiff fine, and has sought for many months to persuade the City Council not to renew the curfew. The ACLU of Louisiana sued the mayor and city council members of Ville Platte, seeking an order barring enforcement of the curfew and an ultimate ruling that the curfew is illegal. “The people of Ville Platte have been forced to remain indoors in violation of their rights to pursue their activities,” said Marjorie R. Esman, ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director. “This law makes criminals out of Ville Plate residents who simply want to walk their dogs, go around the corner to visit a neighbor, or walk to a nearby store to buy needed supplies.” Because this is a walking curfew only, the restriction disproportionately affects lower income residents. Those who can drive to their destinations, and who have off-street parking, retain freedom of movement while those without cars, or who must park on the street, fear arrest and fines. “Ville Platte has wrongly detained scores of people simply for walking to their destinations,” continued Esman. “Punishing people for relying on their feet rather than a car for transportation makes no sense and has a disproportionate impact on those who can afford it the least.” Since the walking curfew was enacted, the City of Ville Platte has collected thousands of dollars in fines from residents simply because they were on the sidewalk after 10 pm. “The city’s budget shouldn’t be balanced on the backs of people who have done nothing wrong,” said Justin Harrison, ACLU of Louisiana Staff Attorney. “It’s time for the people of Ville Platte to regain the freedom to go where they want whenever they want.” A copy of the ACLU’s lawsuit is available here:

Twitter Follow

Follow us on

Contact Us

ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT:  This communication or portions thereof may be considered "advertising" as defined by Section 6157(c) of the California Business and Professions Code or within the jurisdiction in which you are viewing this.  Nothing in the discussion above is intended to be a representation or guarantee about the outcome of any legal proceeding in which you may be involved.  By providing the information above in this format, Michel & Associates is not soliciting you to hire it to handle a specific legal matter you may currently have or be anticipating commencing in the future.  Notwithstanding the discussion above, you should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content on this site without seeking appropriate legal advice regarding your particular circumstances from an attorney licensed to practice law.  This communication is informational only and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Michel & Associates.  Michel & Associates's attorneys are licensed to practice in California, Texas, and the District of Columbia.