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CRM 500-999

755. Tests for Distinguishing Between Civil and Criminal Contempt—Nature of Relief Sought

A contempt is criminal when punishment by way of fine or imprisonment is deemed imperative to vindicate the authority of the court. In contrast, civil contempt is remedial rather than punitive, serves only the purpose of the party litigant, and is intended to coerce compliance with an order of the court or to compensate for losses or damages caused by noncompliance. See Shillitani v. United States, 384 U.S. 364, 368-70 (1966); Nye v. United States, 313 U.S. 33, 42 (1941); Gompers v. Bucks Stove and Range Co., 221 U.S. 418, 442 (1911); Falstaff Brewing Corp. v. Miller Brewing Co., 702 F.2d 770 (9th Cir. 1983); In re Rumaker, 646 F.2d 870 (5th Cir. 1980); United States v. Powers, 629 F.2d 619 (9th Cir. 1980); United States v. North, 621 F.2d 1255 (3d Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 866 (1981); Carlson Fuel Co. v. United Mine Workers, 517 F.2d 1348, 1349 (4th Cir. 1975).

[cited in JM 9-39.000]