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CRM 500-999

764. Indirect Criminal Contempt—Probable Cause of a Willful Violation

The prevailing view is that the petitioner is not required to attempt to obtain compliance with the decree before filing a criminal contempt action for the reason that an act of criminal contempt once committed may not be purged. In re Curtis' Petition, 240 F. Supp. 475, 483 (E.D. Mo. 1965), aff'd, 362 F.2d 999 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 386 U.S. 914 (1966). Accordingly, a court may punish a party for criminal contempt even though the party eventually complies with the order. Gompers v. Bucks Stove and Range Co., 221 U.S. 418, 452 (1911). However, in United States v. Kelsey-Hayes Co., 476 F.2d 265 (6th Cir. 1973), the court noted, in the course of granting a motion to dismiss prior to trial, that its decision was prompted in part by what it contended to be the lack of fairness emanating from the failure of the government to attempt to obtain compliance with the decree prior to commencing the criminal proceeding.

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 773; JM 9-39.000]