contempt of court


contempt of court
Any act which is calculated to embarrass, hinder, or obstruct court in administration of justice, or which is calculated to lessen its authority or its dignity. Committed by a person who does any act in willful contravention of its authority or dignity, or tending to impede or frustrate the administration of justice, or by one who, being under the court's authority as a party to a proceeding therein, willfully disobeys its lawful orders or fails to comply with an undertaking which he has given.
Classification
Contempts are, generally, of two kinds, direct and constructive.
@ direct contempt
Direct contempts are those committed in the immediate view and presence of the court (such as insulting language or acts of violence) or so near the presence of the court as to obstruct or interrupt the due and orderly course of proceedings. These are punishable summarily. People v. Edwards, 69 Ill.App.3d 626, 26 Ill.Dec. 139, 387 N.E.2d 969.
They are also called "criminal" contempts, but that term is better used in contrast with "civil" contempts (see below).
+direct contempt
Such contempt consists of contumacious words or acts expressed in presence of court, while "indirect contempt" consists of similar misconduct or other disobedient acts performed outside court's presence. State v. Wisniewski, 103 N.M. 430, 708 P.2d 1031, 1035.
See also contempt
@ constructive contempt
@ indirect contempt
@ constructive or indirect contempt
Constructive (or indirect) contempts are those which arise from matters not occurring in or near the presence of the court, but which tend to obstruct or defeat the administration of justice, and the term is chiefly used with reference to the failure or refusal of a party to obey a lawful order, injunction, or decree of the court laying upon him a duty of action or forbearance. McGill v. McGill, 3 Ohio App.Sd 455, 445 N.E.2d 1163.
Constructive contempts were formerly called "consequential," and this term is still in occasional use
@
Contempts are also classed as civil or criminal
The former (civil contempt) are those quasi contempts which consist in the failure to do something which the party is ordered by the court to do for the benefit or advantage of another party to the proceeding before the court, while criminal contempts are acts done in disrespect of the court or its process or which obstruct the administration of justice or tend to bring the court into disrespect.
A civil contempt is not an offense against the dignity of the court, but against the party in whose behalf the mandate of the court was issued, and a fine is imposed for his indemnity. But criminal contempts are offenses upon the court such as wilful disobedience of a lawful writ, process, order, rule, or command of court, and a fine or imprisonment is imposed upon the contemnor for the purpose of punishment. Fed.R.Crim.Proc. 42; 18 U.S.C.A. No. 402.
A court of the United States has power to punish by fine or imprisonment, at its discretion, such contempt of its authority, and none other, as:
(1) misbehavior of any person in its presence or so near thereto as to obstruct the administration of justice;
(2) misbehavior of any of its officers in their official transactions;
(3) disobedience or resistance to its lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command. 18 U.S.C.A. No. 401. Contempt for failure to make discovery is governed by Fed.R. Civil P. 37(b), which provides for imposition of sanctions.
See also sanction
@ contempt power
Every court has inherent power to punish one for contempt of its judgments or decrees and for conduct within or proximate to the court which is contemptuous.
@ contempt proceeding
The judicial hearing or trial conducted to determine whether one has been in contempt of court and to make an appropriate disposition. Such proceedings are sui generis and not necessarily connected to or identified with the proceeding out of which the contempt arose
@

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • contempt of court — Any act which is calculated to embarrass, hinder, or obstruct court in administration of justice, or which is calculated to lessen its authority or its dignity. Committed by a person who does any act in willful contravention of its authority or… …   Black's law dictionary

  • CONTEMPT OF COURT — According to the Talmud, cursing a judge is a scriptural prohibition. The verse You shall not revile God (Ex. 22:27) is interpreted as referring to human judges (Mekh. ibid.; Sanh. 66a; Maim. Yad, Sanhedrin 26:1) as is a preceding verse … the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • contempt of court — N UNCOUNT Contempt of court is the criminal offence of disobeying an instruction from a judge or a court of law. [LEGAL] He faced imprisonment for contempt of court. Syn: contempt …   English dictionary

  • contempt of court — An act that hinders the course of justice or that constitutes disrespect to the lawful authority of the court. Contempt may be divided into acts committed in court (for instance, unseemly behaviour or refusing to answer a question as a witness)… …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • contempt of court — con,tempt of court noun uncount LEGAL the crime of not doing what a judge in a court of law has ordered you to do: The reporter was found to be in contempt of court for refusing to reveal his sources …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • contempt of court — UK / US noun [uncountable] legal the crime of not doing what a judge in a court of law has ordered you to do The journalist was found to be in contempt of court for refusing to reveal his sources …   English dictionary

  • contempt of court — noun A court order which, in the context of a court trial or hearing, declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the courts authority. See Also: contempt of Congress, contempt of Parliament, hold in contempt …   Wiktionary

  • contempt of court — noun disrespect for the rules of a court of law • Topics: ↑law, ↑jurisprudence • Hypernyms: ↑contempt • Hyponyms: ↑civil contempt, ↑criminal contempt …   Useful english dictionary


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