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  #1  
Old 12-14-2011, 11:49 AM
IntelliQ IntelliQ is offline
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Held in Contempt: How long can they keep you in jail?

An individual is in court for a minor offense that could still carry a 30 day sentence and he tells the judge to go F himself. Let's say the judge issues a small vacation of 10 to 30 days just on contempt. When the individual gets out and comes before the judge he once again gives him the universal sign of love and jolly F U.

What happens then? Can this become a never-ending cycle whereupon the person held in contempt keeps getting thrown in the clink endlessly? Could the initial reason the person was in court in the first place become a lifelong sentence because he wont stop insulting the judge(s)?
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  #2  
Old 12-14-2011, 11:54 AM
TheUthaBrutha TheUthaBrutha is offline
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Part of it would depend on what you're in contempt for.

If you're cussing out a judge it's one thing. That's simply a matter of behavior. If your in contempt, because you're claiming journalistic privilege and not turning over source information, it's another.

One is behavior modification and the other is an attempt to get you to cooperate. I've heard of cases where after the person refuses so long to cooperate in turning over information, they were let go, as it's obvious that wasn't going to work and there was no benefit from it.

If every time you go up in front of a judge you cuss him and the legal system out, you're going to be in for a long, long stay.
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:09 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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I got out of a 30 day contempt once, a jackass was trying to hold me up for damages to an apartment that was entirely unwarrented, and I told him off in court and used 'fucking' a few times. In Virginia they tend to bible poundingly annoying holier than though christianity and the judge got offended. I pointed out that I was fine with 30 days of 3 hots and a cot without having to pay any rent as I was now between apartments and staying on friends couches while I searched for another flat so it wouldn't inconvenience me at all. Since I had photos of my moving out ay that showed the empty flat without the horrible damage to the walls and carpet, I had no problem demonstrating the jackass did it to try and defraud me for several thousand dollars so he could redecorate the place instead of just slapping on a new coat of paint and laying new cheap carpet.

[the damned judge should have recused himself the first time around, the jackass and the judge were cousins. ]
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:06 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
I got out of a 30 day contempt once, a jackass was trying to hold me up for damages to an apartment that was entirely unwarrented, and I told him off in court and used 'fucking' a few times. In Virginia they tend to bible poundingly annoying holier than though christianity and the judge got offended. I pointed out that I was fine with 30 days of 3 hots and a cot without having to pay any rent as I was now between apartments and staying on friends couches while I searched for another flat so it wouldn't inconvenience me at all. Since I had photos of my moving out ay that showed the empty flat without the horrible damage to the walls and carpet, I had no problem demonstrating the jackass did it to try and defraud me for several thousand dollars so he could redecorate the place instead of just slapping on a new coat of paint and laying new cheap carpet.

[the damned judge should have recused himself the first time around, the jackass and the judge were cousins. ]
How did you envision you would have done your apartment-hunting during those 30 days with the cot?
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:19 PM
Washoe Washoe is offline
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So what is the absolute record for somebody being in the clink for contempt? Has there ever been a case where a journalist was held for months or even years because he refused to back down and give up his source?

Related question: what if you tell a lawyer to go fuck himself in a civil deposition? Is there anything he can do to you?
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:20 PM
buddha_david buddha_david is offline
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Susan McDougal was held in contempt for eighteen months during the Whitewater investigation. She was later pardoned by Clinton.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:34 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
In Virginia they tend to bible poundingly annoying holier than though christianity and the judge got offended.
I think you'll find that judges everywhere get mighty ticked when you start throwing curses around the courtroom.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:50 PM
kaltkalt kaltkalt is offline
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First ask for bond if you're ever held in contempt. Judge may deny bond, but you should have the right to bond in most states.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:58 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling bandit View Post
I think you'll find that judges everywhere get mighty ticked when you start throwing curses around the courtroom.
LOL Normally I wouldn't swear in court, just seeing 8 or 9 pictures of an apartment that looked like Motley Crue had a post concert party there when I knew that my friends and I had not just moved all my goodies out, we had a cleaning party that left it cleaner than when I moved in really pissed me off. Thankfully we had pictures of the place, polaroids. The site guy [some guy that the owner gave a cut in rent to so he would shovel the sidewalks and stuff like that, not really a full on manager] signed the back of each of them when he came over to get the keys. Outright fraud pisses me off. I was figuring he was going to try and nail me for the occasional scrape or ding on the wall, and maybe some mild wear and tear on the carpeting - not holes in the walls and ripped carpeting.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:29 PM
Richard Parker Richard Parker is offline
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There are people held in criminal contempt for years. I'm not sure there's a time limit in principle.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:40 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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There are two types of contempt in my state--criminal and civil.

A criminal contempt is punitive--ie, you have done something like insult the judge, and are sentenced to a fixed period of time in jail as punishment.

A civil contempt is coercive. You have failed to comply with a court order, and are sent to jail for an indefinite term. You get out when you are willing to comply with the order, or otherwise satisfy what conditions the court has set for you to purge yourself of contempt. This type of contempt is often used in child support cases.

In the OP's scenario, I suspect the defendant would eventually find himself charged with something else. Perhaps disturbing the peace, and if necessary, the trial for that and the original charge could be held without him being present--possibly able to view the proceedings on closed circuit video. Assuming he's convicted, he'll be sentenced and remanded into custody to serve his time.
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:42 PM
Richard Parker Richard Parker is offline
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I inadvertently wrote "criminal" in my post. I meant civil, which is what I understood the OP to be referring to.
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2011, 11:47 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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The winner of the dubious award for most time spent in jail for contempt in the US belongs to H. Beatty Chadwick. In 1995, he was getting divorced, and the judge ordered him to pay his ex-wife $2.5 million, which he claimed he had lost. Mr. Chadwick either couldn't or didn't want to turn over the money, so the judge jailed him for contempt until he agreed to do it. 14 years later, he was let out, because another judge basically said, "It's been 14 years, and frankly, this isn't working."
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2011, 07:25 PM
Number Number is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
LOL Normally I wouldn't swear in court, just seeing 8 or 9 pictures of an apartment that looked like Motley Crue had a post concert party there when I knew that my friends and I had not just moved all my goodies out, we had a cleaning party that left it cleaner than when I moved in really pissed me off.
Saying things like this to the judge could also lead to multiple contempt charges.

It would be quite the run-on sentence.
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