Laws imposed by a city can restrict an individual's liberty. An important element of due process in our justice system is ensuring that the public has notice of the laws so they can predict when the government might act to restrain or punish them for a violation. This is particularly true when there are arbitrary, malum prohibitum regulations that extend beyond merely protecting life, liberty, and property.
Toward this end, many cities have published their city codes online for the public to access and review. We relied heavily on this public access to the code to read and analyze city laws to compile data for this Index. While the code is public in every city, it is not always easily accessible.
For this metric, cities were scored on how publicly accessible their code was based on the following scale:
- Code not online or most titles missing from their website
- Online, but incomplete, several missing titles
- Online, complete, not easily navigable or searchable (documents in image format only)
- Online, complete, individual documents in a searchable format, no searchable database
- Online, complete, easily navigable and in a searchable database format
To see a specific city's laws for this metric, click on its name in the right column, then find the = Code Accessiblity ?> row in the table below the Individual Liberty category.