Circuit Judge Paul Alpert determined that a curfew was within Rawlings-Blake's powers as a "conservator of the peace."Legally and substantively, is a curfew the same as martial law?
The powers of that title are not clearly defined in the city charter or state law, but City Solicitor George Nilson has said there was "substantial supportive authority" for a conservator of the peace to impose a curfew.
While the curfew could be imposed, the judge dismissed the charge because he found that there was no established penalty for a curfew violation.
Baltimore Deputy Public Defender Natalie Finegar argued that only Gov. Larry Hogan had the authority to impose a curfew, and the mayor needed City Council approval.
During the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, Gov. Spiro Agnew imposed a citywide curfew at the request of Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro III. The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, later ruled that once the governor declared a state of emergency, "control over the citizens of Baltimore, in our opinion, lay in the hands of the governor of the state."
But a curfew imposed in 1979 by Mayor William Donald Schaefer after a massive snowstorm was upheld by a district judge, who found it was part of his powers as a "conservator of the peace." People arrested for violating that curfew were sent to jail.
July 8, 2015
"Conservator of the peace"
"Conservator of the peace," you say. I was skeptical about how/if Mayor Rawlings-Blake could legally declare a curfew in Baltimore. Turns out she can: