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Criminal Resource Manual

766. Indirect Criminal Contempt—Role of the Grand Jury

In Green v. United States, 356 U.S. 165, 187 (1958), the Supreme Court held that criminal contempt actions need not be instituted by an indictment within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Although an indictment by a grand jury is not imperative in order to institute a criminal contempt action, such an action may be instituted by an indictment. United States v. Bukowski, 435 F.2d 1094, 1103 (7th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 401 U.S. 911 (1971); United States v. Snyder, 428 F.2d 520, 522 (9th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 400 U.S. 903 (1970); Carlson v. United States, 209 F.2d 209, 218 (1st Cir.); United States v. Goldfarb, 167 F.2d 735 (2d Cir. 1948). In such a case, however, the indictment must comply with the notice requirements of Rule 42(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. United States v. Mensik, 440 F.2d 1232 (4th Cir. 1971). Cases have indicated that it may be objectionable to proceed by way of indictment because the interjection of an independent body into the contempt process might interfere with or impede judicial disposition of such matters. United States v. Levya, 513 F.2d 774, 775 (5th Cir. 1975).

[cited in USAM 9-39.000]