The Supreme Court has adopted the standard set forth in 18 U.S.C.
1(3) regarding the definition of a "petty offense," insofar as it has ruled
imprisonment for no more than six months for contempt is constitutionally
permissible without a jury trial. Taylor v. Hayes, 418 U.S. 488
See also Frank v. United States, 395 U.S. 147 (1969) (sentence
three years probation permissible without jury trial). However, the Court
declined to rule that contempt proceedings, at least as to organizations,
resulting in fines of greater than the amount set out in 18 U.S.C. §
automatically entitled to jury trials. See Muniz v. Hoffman,
U.S. 454, 477 (1975).|
A court may, during the course of a trial, impose successive
contempt orders resulting in an aggregate sentence of imprisonment of more
six months in the absence of a jury trial. Such sentencing is permissible
long as no one contempt order carries a sentence of greater than six months.
however, the court chooses to impose a single finding of contempt at the
termination of the trial, imprisonment for longer than six months is
constitutionally impermissible without a jury trial, even if the judge
the sentence of imprisonment for each contempt at six months or less.
Codispoti v. Pennsylvania, 418 U.S. 506 (1974).
If the contempt falls within the purview of 18 U.S.C. § 402,
contempts constituting crimes, then the contemnor is automatically entitled
a jury trial by reason of 18 U.S.C. § 3691.
[updated August 2001] [cited in USAM 9-39.000]