contempt

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contempt,

in law, interference with the functioning of a legislature or court. In its narrow and more usual sense, contempt refers to the despising of the authority, justice, or dignity of a court. A contempt of court can be classified as civil or criminal, direct or constructive. Civil and criminal contempts are distinguished by the function of the punishment—if it is to vindicate judicial authority, the contempt is criminal; if it is to enforce the rights and remedies of a party, the contempt is civil. A direct contempt is one committed in the presence of the court while it is in session. A constructive contempt is one that is committed at a distance from the court and that tends to obstruct or defeat the administration of justice. A refusal to answer a question when directed to answer by a judge is a direct criminal contempt. Disobeying an injunctioninjunction,
in law, order of a court directing a party to perform a certain act or to refrain from an act or acts. The injunction, which developed as the main remedy in equity, is used especially where money damages would not satisfy a plaintiff's claim, or to protect personal
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 or a court order that a judgment (e.g., alimonyalimony,
in law, allowance for support that an individual pays to his or her former spouse, usually as part of a divorce settlement. It is based on the common law right of a wife to be supported by her husband, but in the United States, the Supreme Court in 1979 removed its
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) be satisfied is a civil contempt. A major distinction is whether the court needs to hear evidence to determine if a contempt was committed. Direct criminal contempts may be punished summarily by fine or imprisonment; civil and constructive criminal contempts can also be punished by fine or imprisonment, but the accused must be granted a hearing. In the United States, Congress can punish for contempt of Congress behavior that occurs during legislative proceedings and that threatens its legislative power. Congress must act before it adjourns, and any imprisonment can last no longer than that session. State legislatures also have limited powers to punish for contempt.

Bibliography

See C. J. Miller, Contempt of Court (1989).

contempt

wilful disregard of or disrespect for the authority of a court of law or legislative body
References in periodicals archive ?
155) In addition, it may provide other strategic advantages as the nonsanctioned party might feel free to litigate more aggressively and the party held in contempt may be more reserved.
Having shown the public nothing but contempt, the politicians are now held in contempt by the public.
Corn's failure to comply with the subpoena could be deemed contempt of court, and ordered him to show cause why he should not be held in contempt.
The prisoners challenged the prison's attempt to end the decree, sought additional time for court involvement and moved to have prison officials held in contempt for past violations of the decree.
Another common question is whether the client may someday have to either repatriate assets or be held in contempt of court.
The petition asks the court to order Burrows Paper to show cause why it should not be held in contempt, to order the company to pay the government's expenses in seeking the contempt order, and to assess prospective fines against both William Burrows and the company if they commit future violations of the court order.
OTCBB:VPER), Acting Through Ronald Weaver, CEO, and Jason Sunstein, Vice President of Finance, Should Not Be Held in Contempt.