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Father of Slain Youth Pickets Outside Court for Curfew Laws

The father of a Hollywood teen-ager shot to death last summer during a fight at a Van Nuys club for teen-agers led a small demonstration Monday outside the court where his son’s accused killer is scheduled to go on trial today. The demonstrators were urging stricter curfew laws for teen-agers.

Mike Miller, whose 15-year-old son, Mark, was shot Aug. 17 outside the Hot Trax club in Van Nuys, said Monday’s picketing was part of a campaign to get laws that would penalize parents of teen-agers who violate curfew laws. Miller said a group he helped form, Operation Kidsweep, is also writing letters to politicians, school officials and civic groups,

“We want the police to enforce the curfew so a child of 15 will not put himself in a position where tragedy can happen,” said Miller, a Santa Monica private detective.

The law now allows police to pick up children 15 and younger who are found on the streets between 10 p.m. and sunrise. But the law carries no sanctions against parents.

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Miller and seven other people picketed in front of Sylmar Juvenile Court for about 30 minutes. Miller said the group advocates “dragnet-type sweeps” to pick up teen-age curfew violators.

Inside the Sylmar court Monday, the trial of Christopher Comete, 16, of Canoga Park, who is accused of killing Miller’s son, was postponed until today. Comete is accused of shooting Mark Miller once in the back of the head outside the Hot Trax club shortly after its 2 a.m. closing.

Police said the shooting was sparked by an earlier fight that was prompted by Comete’s comment about the punk-style haircut of Mark Miller’s 14-year-old girlfriend.

Los Angeles Councilwoman Joy Picus called Miller’s proposal for tougher teen-age curfew laws “impractical and an overreaction. There are laws that do pretty much work on the books.”

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