DADI Blog

Enforcement of Court Orders (Contempt of Court)

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

Contempt of Court – “Any willful disobedience to, or disregard of, a court order or any misconduct in the presence of a court; action that interferes with a judge’s ability to administer justice or that insults the dignity of the court; punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. There are both civil and criminal contempt’s; the distinction is often unclear.”

Which simply means that you get in to trouble that requires a court order and a judge gives you a set of rules to live by and purposely break every one; then you are in trouble. It is similar to breaking the law.

Contempt Of Court — Civil or Criminal

A judge who feels someone is improperly challenging or ignoring the court’s authority has the power to tell the disobedient person (called the contemnor) in contempt of court. There are two kinds of contempt – criminal and civil. Criminal contempt happens when the contemnor actually hinders with the ability of the court to function normally – for example, by yelling at the judge. This is also called direct contempt because it occurs directly in front of the judge. This is a very clear definition, almost impossible to be misunderstood. A criminal contemnor may be fined, jailed or both as punishment for his behavior.

Civil contempt occurs when the contemnor, on purpose disobeys a court order. This is also called indirect contempt because it occurs outside the judge’s immediate realm and evidence must be presented to the judge to prove the contempt. In other words, you disobey the judge behind his or her back. A civil contemnor, too, may be fined, jailed or both. The fine or jailing is meant to force the contemnor into obeying the court, not to punish him, and the contemnor will be released from jail just as soon as he complies with the court order.

This is quite merciful of them.

In family law, civil contempt is one way a court enforces alimony (or money), child support, custody and visitation orders which have been abused.

However, many courts have realized that, at least regarding various routine matters such as appointment of counsel, the distinction between civil and criminal contempt is often hazy and uncertain.

By the Constitution of the United States, each house of congress may determine the rules of its events; punish its members for rebellious behavior and, with the agreement of two-thirds, expel a member. The same terms is substantially contained in the constitutions of the several states. Courts of justice have an inherent power to punish all people for contempt of their rules and orders, for disobedience of their methods, and for disturbing them in their proceedings.

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