Hodgkins V. Peterson

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Hodgkins V. Peterson

By | November 2008
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Facts: Colin Hodgkins and his three friends left a restaurant in Marions County, Indiana, after attending a school soccer game. The four minors were stopped shortly after 11:00 P.M. by local police officers and were arrested for violating Indiana’s curfew regulation. The Indiana curfew was set at 11 P.M. on weekdays nights. Colin Hodgkins mother Nancy wants her children to participate in activities protected by the First Amendment rights, no matter what time of the day or night it is. She filed suit against the Mayor of the City of Indianapolis and other local government officials. The lower court found only and incidental burden on the minors First Amendment rights.

Procedure: Hodgkins is filing an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals on the grounds of a violation to her son Colin’s First Amendment rights.

Issue: Is the City of Indianapolis’s curfew violating minor’s First Amendment rights?

Holding: Yes

Reasoning: For a person to file a claim that violates their First Amendments rights, they must prove that their speech was actually chilled. In Hodgkins case, they deemed the ordnance unconstitutional because fear of criminal prosecution would have, or did, prevent them from going to late night protests, political rallies, or church events, which are protected First Amendment rights. The arrest under the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence would have been proper, the officer only needed to provide probable cause. Since it is not fair for the city to force a child, or their parents, to have to hire a criminal defense lawyer to avoid being punished for exercising a constitutional right, the curfew ordnance is unconstitutional.

Decision and Remedy: The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Hodgkins can express his First Amendment rights and the curfew law of the City of Indianapolis is unconstitutional because it failed to provide a significant increase in governmental interest. The possibility of arrest ultimately invokes fear in a minor, which makes it...
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