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759. Indirect Versus Direct Contempt

A contempt is indirect when it occurs out of the presence of the court, thereby requiring the court to rely on the testimony of third parties for proof of the offense. It is direct when it occurs under the court's own eye and within its own hearing. See Matter of Heathcock, 696 F.2d 1362, 1365 (11th Cir. 1983); United States v. Peterson, 456 F.2d 1135, 1139 (10th Cir. 1972). The requirement that direct contempt be committed in the presence of the court does not limit direct contempts to those which take place in the courtroom, but some degree of formality usually found in the courtroom setting must accompany an exercise of the judicial function for the proceedings to be in the actual presence of the court. Matter of Jaffree, 741 F.2d 133 (7th Cir. 1984). Direct contempt for conduct in the court's presence may be punished summarily. McGuire v. Sigma Coatings, Inc., 48 F.3d 902 (5th Cir. 1995).

[cited in JM 9-39.000]

Updated January 21, 2020