Clinton curfew to be challenged in court

CLINTON, LA (WAFB) - Shaletha Haynes has called Clinton home for over 30 years and supports the recent change her town leaders put into place.

"I think like I said it was a good idea," said Haynes.

Haynes and other residents have been living under the Clinton's curfew for nearly two months now and believes it is making a difference.

"Before the curfew we did have a lot of people running the streets , playing loud music, since the curfew you don't really hear that you don't really see too much," added Haynes.

Clinton Police Chief Fred Dunn came up with the curfew and the town's Board of Aldermen, like Johnny Beauchamp, helped pass the ordinance.

"It's all about people walking on the streets and walking on the streets at all hours of the night and since we did this curfew the crime rate was zero last month," said Beauchamp.

However, not everyone is on board. Marjorie B. Esman of the Louisiana American Civil Liberties Union says the group filed a lawsuit on behalf of a town resident because governments do not have the right to limit residents' activities if they have done nothing wrong.

"To say people don't have the right to walk, drive or do whatever they want to do is put the burden on innocent people and the constitution doesn't permit that," said Esman.

The lawsuit against the city and a motion for a preliminary injunction are now in the court's hands but Beauchamp says until told otherwise the curfew will continue.

"I know we have two judges and it will have to go through one of our judges, with the way it's working I can't see them banning or nothing. I could be dead wrong," said Beauchamp.

In the meantime residents like Haynes say they will continue abiding by the curfew and say the ordinance has made Clinton a safer place to live.

"Why would you want to be out after 11 hanging around on the streets, what is there to do after 11 o'clock?" said Haynes.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.

A copy of the ACLU's lawsuit is available here:

The Motion for Preliminary Injunction/TRO is available here:

The Memorandum in Support of TRO is available here:

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.