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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.


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


wilful disregard of or disrespect for the authority of a court of law or legislative body
References in periodicals archive ?
She has a less favorable view of her mother, who, as Malala contemptuously explains, left school at the age of 6 after selling her school books for candy.
Because of this, metaphysics has often been contemptuously dismissed by scientists and philosophers who wish to remain within the bounds of what can be scientifically proven.
They deserve huge credit for achieving what they have but clubs like Newcastle, with 50,000 fans bellowing them on, ought to sweep them contemptuously aside.
gt; 1665 Rough with a trundle Tail, a Prick-ear'd Cur) and finally--still in the same century (1614>1706)--started to be used contemptuously of a person (e.
But we expect him to keep his word to govern on behalf of everyone, so it's not acceptable to dismiss Sunday People readers so contemptuously.
Did Celebrity Big Brother's po-faced producers notice how the baying lynch mob contemptuously jeered hated Nadia Sawalha.
I also heard the demonstrators shout anti-Sisi slogans and noticed how several shopkeepers watched them contemptuously.
Achuthanandan said he had pointed out the gaps in various aspects of the temple administration in the past, and that his observations were dismissed contemptuously.
When Beets tells him that he's the laughingstock of Frisian journalism and contemptuously spits in his face, it triggers a violent rage that makes him grab Beets's head and bang it against the floor so hard and often that it kills his antagonist.
The Melbourne Stars spin great contemptuously told the Adelaide players they'll be watching the BBL semi finals on television but his mocking comments sparked a response from the Strikers' official Twitter account, the paper reported.
Iran underscored its negative on diplomacy by contemptuously refusing the IAEA inspectors visiting the country this week access to any of its nuclear facilities.
With such a significant core of Barcelona players, the danger is that Spain get on the same carousel Sir Alex Ferguson felt the Catalans climbed aboard when they so contemptuously flicked Manchester United away on the same Wembley pitch in last season's Champions League final.