Criminal Versus Civil Contempt
Because different substantive and procedural rules apply to civil
criminal contempts, distinctions between the two forms of contempt are
"Criminal contempt is a crime in the ordinary sense," Bloom v.
391 U.S. 194, 201 (1968), and "criminal penalties may not be imposed on
who has not been afforded the protections that the Constitution requires of
criminal proceedings." Hicks v. Feiock, 485 U.S. 624, 632 (1988).
constitutional protections include the right (1) not to be subject to double
jeopardy, see United States v. Dixon, 509 U.S. 688, 695
In re Bradley, 318 U.S. 50 (1943); (2) to receive notice of the
(3) to receive assistance of counsel; (4) to receive summary process; (5) to
present a defense, Cooke v. United States, 267 U.S. 515, 537 (1925);
not to self-incriminate oneself, and (7) to proof beyond a reasonable doubt,
Gompers v. Bucks Stove & Range Co., 221 U.S. 418, 444 (1911). For
criminal contempts involving imprisonment of more than six months, these
protections include the right to a jury trial. Bloom, 391 U.S. at
By contrast, civil contempt sanctions--which are designed to compel
future compliance with a court order--are coercive and avoidable through
obedience, and "thus may be imposed in an ordinary civil proceeding upon
and an opportunity to be heard. Neither a jury trial nor proof beyond a
reasonable doubt is required." International Union, UMWA v. Bagwell,
U.S. 821, 114 S.Ct. 2552, 2557 (1994).
The role of the United States Attorney in prosecuting criminal
cases is discussed in this Manual at 768.
[cited in USAM 9-39.000]