An Ohio appeals court has unanimously denied the challenge of an arrest and conviction under the city of Norwood’s daytime curfew for minors. The court sided with a policeman’s testimony that the defendant, who was 17 years old at the time, was not on his way to school and that he was instead planning to wash cars.
Norwood is one of several Cincinnati suburbs that bars children younger than 18 from being out in public during normal school hours without school permission or with a parent or supervising adult. Daytime curfews for minors date back to 1880 and are regarded as a tool against juvenile delinquency, but they are controversial and have drawn criticism from parents of home-schooled children, among others.
Norwood Police patrolman Richard Krummen arrested the boy on a Wednesday morning in November 2014. It was 9:15 a.m. on Carthage Avenue, and the boy claimed he was enroute to Life Skills High School, whose daily sessions start at 8 and 11 a.m. Krummen, who had seen the boy on another street 90 minutes earlier, didn’t believe him, in part because the boy was farther away from school in their second encounter.
The contents of the boy’s backpack didn’t help his cause. There were no schoolbooks, only car-washing supplies, according to the officer’s trial testimony in Hamilton County Juvenile Court in January 2016. Moreover, the boy had told Krummen during a previous encounter that he washes cars all day at a certain Norwood location.
The encounter went downhill from there. Krummen said the boy spit on his face and told officers, “Take me to fucking jail before I kill you all” and “Don’t let me catch you out of your police car.” Krummen regarded the comments as spontaneous emotion, but after the boy said, “Fuck yeah, I spit on you. I’ll do it again,” and kicked at the windows of the police car, charges of menacing and disorderly conduct were added.
The boy was convicted of all charges and ordered to the “care, custody and control of parent, guardian, custodian and teachers and to obey all laws.” The convictions were upheld by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on June 14. The opinion was written by Judge Beth Myers. Judges Marilyn Zayas and Charles Miller concurred.
Norwood is not the only municipality in Greater Cincinnati to have a daytime curfew for minors. A cursory search by CityBeat found such ordinances in Covington, Newport, Lockland and Reading. Cincinnati, Wyoming, Silverton, Terrace Park, Indian Hill, Mariemont and Cleves do not. The Norwood ordinance 531-02 was enacted by City Council in 2010.