Contempt of court, often referred to simply as "contempt", is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court. A similar attitude towards a legislative body is termed contempt of Parliament or contempt of Congress.
There are broadly two categories of contempt: being disrespectful to legal authorities in the courtroom, or willfully failing to obey a court order. Contempt proceedings are especially used to enforce equitable remedies, such as injunctions. In some jurisdictions, the refusal to respond to subpoena, to testify, to fulfill the obligations of a juror, or to provide certain information can constitute contempt of the court.
When a court decides that an action constitutes contempt of court, it can issue an order that in the context of a court trial or hearing declares a person or organization to have disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court's authority, called "found" or "held" in contempt. That is the judge's strongest power to impose sanctions for acts that disrupt the court's normal process.
A finding of being in contempt of court may result from a failure to obey a lawful order of a court, showing disrespect for the judge, disruption of the proceedings through poor behavior, or publication of material or non-disclosure of material, which in doing so is deemed likely to jeopardize a fair trial. A judge may impose sanctions such as a fine or jail for someone found guilty of contempt of court, which makes contempt of court a process crime. Judges in common law systems usually have more extensive power to declare someone in contempt than judges in civil law systems.
Contempt of court is essentially seen as a form of disturbance that may impede the functioning of the court. The judge may impose fines and/or jail time upon any person committing contempt of court. The person is usually let out upon his or her agreement to fulfill the wishes of the court. Civil contempt can involve acts of omission. The judge will make use of warnings in most situations that may lead to a person being charged with contempt. It is relatively rare that a person is charged for contempt without first receiving at least one warning from the judge. Constructive contempt, also called consequential contempt, is when a person fails to fulfill the will of the court as it applies to outside obligations of the person. In most cases, constructive contempt is considered to be in the realm of civil contempt due to its passive nature.
Indirect contempt is something that is associated with civil and constructive contempt and involves a failure to follow court orders. Criminal contempt includes anything that could be called a disturbance, such as repeatedly talking out of turn, bringing forth previously banned evidence, or harassment of any other party in the courtroom. Direct contempt is an unacceptable act in the presence of the judge (in facie curiae), and generally begins with a warning, and may be accompanied by an immediate imposition of punishment. Yawning in some cases can be considered contempt of court.
Contempt of court has a significant impact on journalism in the form of restrictions on court reporting which are set out in statute in the UK.
A Belgian correctional or civil judge may immediately try the person for insulting the court.
In Canada, contempt of court is an exception to the general principle that all criminal offences are set out in the federal Criminal Code. Contempt of court and contempt of Parliament are the only remaining common law offences in Canada.
Contempt of court includes the following behaviors:
Under Federal Court Rules, Rules 466, and Rule 467 a person who is accused of Contempt needs to be first served with a contempt order and then appear in court to answer the charges. Convictions can only be made when proof beyond a reasonable doubt is achieved.
If it is a matter of urgency or the contempt was done in front of a judge, that person can be punished immediately. Punishment can range from the person being imprisoned for a period of less than five years or until the person complies with the order or fine.
Under Tax Court of Canada Rules of Tax Court of Canada Act, a person who is found to be in contempt may be imprisoned for a period of less than two years or fined. Similar procedures for serving an order first is also used at the Tax Court.
Different procedures exist for different provincial courts. For example, in British Columbia, a justice of the peace can only issue a summons to an offender for contempt, which will be dealt with by a judge, even if the offence was done in the face of the justice.
Judges from the Court of Final Appeal, High Court, District Court along with members from the various tribunals and Coroner's Court all have the power to impose immediate punishments for contempt in the face of the court, derived from legislation or through common law:
The use of insulting or threatening language in the magistrates' courts or against a magistrate is in breach of section 99 of the Magistrates Ordinance (Cap 227) which states the magistrate can 'summarily sentence the offender to a fine at level 3 and to imprisonment for 6 months.'
In addition, certain appeal boards are given the statutory authority for contempt by them (e.g., Residential Care Home, Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation, Air Pollution Control, etc.). For contempt in front of these boards, the chairperson will certify the act of contempt to the Court of First Instance who will then proceed with a hearing and determine the punishment.
In India contempt of court is of two types:
Six months, or fine up to ₹2000, or both.
In England and Wales (a common law jurisdiction), the law on contempt is partly set out in case law (common law), and partly codified by the Contempt of Court Act 1981. Contempt may be classified as criminal or civil. The maximum penalty for criminal contempt under the 1981 Act is committal to prison for two years.
Disorderly, contemptuous or insolent behavior toward the judge or magistrates while holding the court, tending to interrupt the due course of a trial or other judicial proceeding, may be prosecuted as "direct" contempt. The term "direct" means that the court itself cites the person in contempt by describing the behavior observed on the record. Direct contempt is distinctly different from indirect contempt, wherein another individual may file papers alleging contempt against a person who has willfully violated a lawful court order.
The Crown Court is a superior court according to the Senior Courts Act 1981, and Crown Courts have the power to punish contempt. The Divisional Court as part of the High Court has ruled that this power can apply in these three circumstances:
Where it is necessary to act quickly, a judge may act to impose committal (to prison) for contempt.
Where it is not necessary to be so urgent, or where indirect contempt has taken place the Attorney General can intervene and the Crown Prosecution Service will institute criminal proceedings on his behalf before a Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales.
Magistrates' courts also have powers under the 1981 Act to order to detain any person who "insults the court" or otherwise disrupts its proceedings until the end of the sitting. Upon contempt being admitted or proved the (invariably) District Judge (sitting as a magistrate) may order committal to prison for a maximum of one month, impose a fine of up to £2,500, or both.
It will be contempt to bring an audio recording device or picture-taking device of any sort into an English court without the consent of the court.
It will not be contempt according to section 10 of the Act for a journalist to refuse to disclose his sources, unless the court has considered the evidence available and determined that the information is "necessary in the interests of justice or national security or for the prevention of disorder or crime".
Under the Contempt of Court Act it is criminal contempt to publish anything which creates a real risk that the course of justice in proceedings may be seriously impaired. It only applies where proceedings are active, and the Attorney General has issued guidance as to when he believes this to be the case, and there is also statutory guidance. The clause prevents the newspapers and media from publishing material that is too extreme or sensationalist about a criminal case until the trial or linked trials are over and the juries have given their verdicts.
Section 2 of the Act defines and limits the previous common law definition of contempt (which was previously based upon a presumption that any conduct could be treated as contempt, regardless of intent), to only instances where there can be proved an intent to cause a substantial risk of serious prejudice to the administration of justice (i.e./e.g., the conduct of a trial).
In civil proceedings there are two main ways in which contempt is committed:
In United States jurisprudence, acts of contempt are generally divided into direct or indirect and civil or criminal. Direct contempt occurs in the presence of a judge; civil contempt is "coercive and remedial" as opposed to punitive. In the United States, relevant statutes include 18 U.S.C. §§ 401–403 and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 42.
Contempt of court in a civil suit is generally not considered to be a criminal offense, with the party benefiting from the order also holding responsibility for the enforcement of the order. However, some cases of civil contempt have been perceived as intending to harm the reputation of the plaintiff, or to a lesser degree, the judge or the court.
Sanctions for contempt may be criminal or civil. If a person is to be punished criminally, then the contempt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but once the charge is proven, then punishment (such as a fine or, in more serious cases, imprisonment) is imposed unconditionally. The civil sanction for contempt (which is typically incarceration in the custody of the sheriff or similar court officer) is limited in its imposition for so long as the disobedience to the court's order continues: once the party complies with the court's order, the sanction is lifted. The imposed party is said to "hold the keys" to his or her own cell, thus conventional due process is not required. In federal and most state courts, the burden of proof for civil contempt is clear and convincing evidence, a lower standard than in criminal cases.
In civil contempt cases there is no principle of proportionality. In Chadwick v. Janecka (3d Cir. 2002), a U.S. court of appeals held that H. Beatty Chadwick could be held indefinitely under federal law, for his failure to produce US$2.5 million as state court ordered in a civil trial. Chadwick had been imprisoned for nine years at that time and continued to be held in prison until 2009, when a state court set him free after 14 years, making his imprisonment the longest on a contempt charge to date.
Civil contempt is only appropriate when the imposed party has the power to comply with the underlying order. Controversial contempt rulings have periodically arisen from cases involving asset protection trusts, where the court has ordered a settlor of an asset protection trust to repatriate assets so that the assets may be made available to a creditor. A court cannot maintain an order of contempt where the imposed party does not have the ability to comply with the underlying order. This claim when made by the imposed party is known as the "impossibility defense".
Contempt of court is considered a prerogative of the court, and "the requirement of a jury does not apply to 'contempts committed in disobedience of any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command entered in any suit or action brought or prosecuted in the name of, or on behalf of, the United States.'" This stance is not universally agreed with by other areas of the legal world, and there have been many calls to have contempt cases to be tried by jury, rather than by judge, as a potential conflict of interest rising from a judge both accusing and sentencing the defendant. At least one Supreme Court Justice has made calls for jury trials to replace judge trials on contempt cases.
The United States Marshals Service is the agency component that first holds all federal prisoners. It uses the Prisoner Population Management System /Prisoner Tracking System. The only types of records that are disclosed as being in the system are those of "federal prisoners who are in custody pending criminal proceedings." The records of "alleged civil contempors" are not listed in the Federal Register as being in the system leading to a potential claim for damages under The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(e)(4)(I).
In the United States, because of the broad protections granted by the First Amendment, with extremely limited exceptions, unless the media outlet is a party to the case, a media outlet cannot be found in contempt of court for reporting about a case because a court cannot order the media in general not to report on a case or forbid it from reporting facts discovered publicly. Newspapers cannot be closed because of their content.
There have been criticisms over the practice of trying contempt from the bench. In particular, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote in a dissent, "It is high time, in my judgment, to wipe out root and branch the judge-invented and judge-maintained notion that judges can try criminal contempt cases without a jury."
The administration of justice is the process by which the legal system of a government is executed. The presumed goal of such administration is to provide justice for all those accessing the legal system. The phrase is also used commonly to describe a University degree (as in: a BA in Administration of Justice), which can be a prerequisite for a job in law enforcement or government.Alan Shadrake
Alan Shadrake (born mid-1934) is a British author and former journalist, who was convicted in Singapore in 2010 of contempt of court for scandalising the Singapore judicial system, through his published views on the country's criminal justice system. Following a failed appeal, he served 5½ weeks in prison.Contempt of Court Act 1981
The Contempt of Court Act 1981 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It codifies some aspects of the common law offence of contempt of court.Section 8 of the Act provides that it is an offence for a person to ask for or make public any opinions or arguments put forward by a jury member in the course of making a decision.Contumacy
Contumacy is a stubborn refusal to obey authority or, particularly in law, the wilful contempt of the order or summons of a court (see contempt of court). The term is derived from the Latin word contumacia, meaning firmness or stubbornness.In English ecclesiastical law, it was contempt of the authority of an ecclesiastical court and was dealt with by the issue of a writ from the Court of Chancery at the instance of the judge of the ecclesiastical court. This writ took the place of the de excommunicato capiendo in 1813, by an act of George III; see excommunication.In the U.S., while not expressly mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the courts have long asserted an inherent power of judges to punish such refusal, which in this context is known as contempt of court. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized federal courts' inherent power to imprison a person for contumacy in United States v. Hudson & Goodwin without a reference to a definition of contumacy in common or statutory law.Debtors' prison
A debtors' prison is a prison for people who are unable to pay debt. Through the mid-19th century, debtors' prisons (usually similar in form to locked workhouses) were a common way to deal with unpaid debt in places like Western Europe. Destitute persons who were unable to pay a court-ordered judgment would be incarcerated in these prisons until they had worked off their debt via labour or secured outside funds to pay the balance. The product of their labour went towards both the costs of their incarceration and their accrued debt. Increasing access and lenience throughout the history of bankruptcy law have made prison terms for unaggravated indigence illegal over most of the world.
Since the late 20th century, the term debtors' prison has also sometimes been applied by critics to criminal justice systems in which a court can sentence someone to prison over willfully unpaid criminal fees, usually following the order of a judge. For example, in some jurisdictions within the United States, people can be held in contempt of court and jailed after willful non-payment of child support, garnishments, confiscations, fines, or back taxes. Additionally, though properly served civil duties over private debts in nations such as the United States will merely result in a default judgment being rendered in absentia if the defendant willfully declines to appear by law, a substantial number of indigent debtors are legally incarcerated for the crime of failing to appear at civil debt proceedings as ordered by a judge. In this case, the crime is not indigence, but disobeying the judge's order to appear before the court. Critics argue that the "willful" terminology is subject to individual mens rea determination by a judge, rather than statute, and that since this presents the potential for judges to incarcerate legitimately indigent individuals, it amounts to a de facto "debtors' prison" system.Eugene Thuraisingam
Eugene Singarajah Thuraisingam (born June 10, 1975) is a Singaporean lawyer who founded the law firm Eugene Thuraisingam LLP, which specialises in criminal and commercial litigation and international arbitration. He is also known for his advocacy of human rightsand for being a staunch opponent and outspoken critic of the death penalty in Singapore. As a criminal lawyer in Singapore he has acted for accused persons in many high profile criminal trials.In 2016, Thuraisingam defended Roy Ngerng, a blogger who was sued for defamation by Lee Hsien Loong, who is the Prime Minister of Singapore. In 2016 and 2017, he represented The Online Citizen, an independent online media platform, in successfully protecting its right to free speech against the Singaporean government. He currently acts in a constitutional law case against the Attorney-General of Singapore challenging the constitutionality of the law in Singapore which criminalises sex between men. He is also currently acting for an oil exploration company in an UNCITRAL arbitration against a middle eastern state-owned company. The dispute involves claims of over USD 126 million and concerns petroleum operations in the South-East Asia.Gerald Fredrick Töben
Gerald Fredrick Töben, more commonly known as Fredrick Töben, (born 2 June 1944) is a German-born Australian citizen who was director and founder of the Adelaide Institute, a Holocaust denial group in Australia. He is the author of works on education, political science, and history.
Töben was arrested and imprisoned for nine months in Mannheim Prison in 1998 for breaching Germany's Holocaust Law (§ 130 public incitement) prohibiting anyone from defaming the dead. Töben wrote of his work: "If you wish to begin to doubt the Holocaust-Shoah narrative, you must be prepared for personal sacrifice, must be prepared for marriage and family break-up, loss of career, and go to prison." In the past he had denied that he said that the Holocaust was a "lie".Involved in a number of controversies and court actions, Töben has served three jail sentences: in 1999, for seven months in Germany for breaching Germany's Holocaust Law, Section 130, that outlaws “Incitement to hatred“; in 2008, for 50 days in the United Kingdom when he was transiting through Heathrow and Germany wanted him extradited under a European Arrest Warrant, which the court declared invalid; and in 2009, for three months in South Australia for contempt of court, for which he apologized to the court.Goldie Collins
Goldsmith Collins (16 September 1901 – 27 April 1982) was an Australian rules footballer who played with Fitzroy in the VFL.
He made his debut with Fitzroy in 1922 and the following season was the club's best and fairest. His brothers, Harry and Norm both played for Fitzroy.Greg Anderson (trainer)
Greg F. Anderson (born February 1966) is an American personal trainer, best known for his work with baseball player Barry Bonds, and links with BALCO.Joe Arpaio
Joseph Michael Arpaio (; born June 14, 1932) is an American former law enforcement officer and politician. He served as the 36th Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona for 24 years, from 1993 to 2017, losing reelection to Democrat Paul Penzone in 2016.
Starting in 2005, Arpaio took an outspoken stance against illegal immigration, styling himself as "America's Toughest Sheriff". In 2010, he became a flashpoint for opposition to Arizona's SB1070 anti-illegal immigrant law, which was largely struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States. Arpaio is also known for investigating former U.S. President Barack Obama's birth certificate, and, as of 2018, he continued to claim without evidence that it was forged.Arpaio has been accused of numerous types of police misconduct, including abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, criminal negligence, abuse of suspects in custody, improper clearance of cases, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations. A Federal court monitor was appointed to oversee his office's operations because of complaints of racial profiling. The U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, and subsequently filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct. Arpaio and the MCSO were named as defendants in dozens of civil lawsuits brought by citizens arrested by Arpaio and his deputies alleging wrongful arrest, wrongful death, entrapment and other claims, costing taxpayers in Maricopa County over $140 million in litigation against Arpaio during his tenure as sheriff.Over the course of his career, Arpaio was the subject of several federal civil rights lawsuits. In one case he was a defendant in a decade-long suit in which a federal court issued an injunction barring him from conducting further "immigration round-ups". A federal court subsequently found that after the order was issued, Arpaio's office continued to detain "persons for further investigation without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed." In July 2017, he was convicted of criminal contempt of court, a crime for which he was pardoned by President Donald Trump on August 25, 2017. In a separate racial-profiling case which concluded in 2013, Arpaio and his subordinates were found to have unfairly targeted Hispanics in conducting traffic stops.Though Arpaio sought another term as Maricopa County Sheriff in 2016, the contempt of court conviction eroded much of his remaining political support, and he was defeated in the election by Paul Penzone, a Democrat who reversed many of Arpaio's policies after taking office. Arpaio was an unsuccessful candidate in Arizona's Republican primary election for U.S. Senate in 2018. On August 25, 2019, Arpaio issued a statement saying that he would run for sheriff of Maricopa County in 2020.Jordan Halliday
Jordan Cade Halliday (born August 11, 1987) is an American animal rights activist. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2009 on charges related to resisting a federal grand jury investigating local illegal animal rights activities, mainly concerning fur farm raids in Utah. He was jailed for nearly four months under a contempt of court order to compel him to testify. He was later released and indicted on criminal contempt of court. He pleaded guilty to "Criminal Contempt of Court" on July 27, 2010. The charge is a unique one in that it is sui generis, meaning it is neither a felony nor a misdemeanor. He was sentenced on November 3, 2010, to 10 months in prison with 3 years of probation upon release. He filed an appeal with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals which was denied. He was accused of violating his terms by allegedly associating with the vegan straightedge. His house was raided by a dozen armed FBI agents and he started serving his sentence early on January 9, 2012. He was released on July 20, 2012, his civil time running concurrent with his criminal time. He was released with 3 years of probation. On August 8, 2013, he was granted early termination of supervision after filing a motion with his lawyer.Kevin Trudeau
Kevin Mark Trudeau (; born February 6, 1963) is an American author, salesman, and pool enthusiast, known for his fraudulent promotion of his books and resulting legal cases involving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). His ubiquitous late-night infomercials, which promoted his unsubstantiated health, diet, and financial advice, earned him a fortune but eventually resulted in civil and criminal penalties for fraud, larceny, and contempt of court.
In the early 1990s, Trudeau was convicted of larceny and credit card fraud. In 1998, the accused him of grossly misrepresenting the contents of his book, The Weight-Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About. In a 2004 settlement, he agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and cease marketing all products except his books, which are protected under the First Amendment. However, in 2011, he was fined $37.6 million for violating the 2004 settlement, and ordered to post a $2 million bond before engaging in any future infomercial advertising. In 2013, facing further prosecution for violations of the 2011 agreement and non-payment of the $37-million judgment, Trudeau filed for bankruptcy protection. His claims of insolvency were challenged by FTC lawyers, who maintained that he was hiding money in shell companies, and cited examples of continued lavish spending, such as $359 for a haircut.In November 2013, Trudeau was convicted of criminal contempt, and was sentenced to 10 years at Montgomery federal prison camp in Alabama.Infomercials starring Trudeau and promoting his books — under the auspices of a private California corporation of undisclosed ownership — continue to air regularly on United States television stations.Lynching of Ed Johnson
In 1906, a young African American man named Ed Johnson was murdered by a lynch mob in his home town of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He had been sentenced to death for the rape of Nevada Taylor, but Justice John Marshall Harlan of the United States Supreme Court had issued a stay of execution. To prevent delay or avoidance of execution, a mob broke into the jail where Johnson was held and lynched him.
During Johnson's incarceration there was much public interest in the case, and many people including court officers feared a possible lynch attempt. The day after his murder saw widespread strikes among the black community in Chattanooga. Two thousand people attended his funeral on the next day.Following the murder, President Roosevelt made it his goal to have the members of the mob put in jail by getting the secret service men in on the investigation. Sheriff Joseph Shipp, who had arrested Johnson, was found guilty of contempt of court in United States v. Shipp, the only criminal trial ever held by the United States Supreme Court.
Johnson, while in jail, made a Christian profession and was baptized. He publicly forgave those who were about to execute him. On Johnson's tombstone are his final words "God Bless you all. I AM A Innocent Man." at the top. On the bottom is written "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord"
Johnson was the second African American to be lynched on Walnut Street Bridge, Alfred Blount being the first, thirteen years earlier, in 1893.Matthew Cooper (American journalist)
Matthew Cooper (born 1963) is political journalist with a career spanning over 30 years. From 2014 to 2018 he was a senior writer and an editor at “Newsweek”. Before that he was the managing editor for White House coverage at National Journal magazine and editor of “”National Journal Daily” Cooper is a former reporter for Time who, along with New York Times reporter Judith Miller was held in contempt of court and threatened with imprisonment for refusing to testify before the Grand Jury regarding the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation. He was a blogger for Talking Points Memo in early 2009, and contributed to the magazine Condé Nast Portfolio until it closed in April, 2009, after which he became a correspondent for The Atlantic magazine. He worked for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on a book about the group's findings from the economic collapse in 2010.In 2018, Cooper resigned from his senior writer position at “Newsweek” after two top editors were fired for investigating their parent company's potential illegal dealings. In his resignation letter, Cooper cited the company's dwindling standards and “reckless leadership” following several scandals both editorial and organizational.Poplar Rates Rebellion Mural
The Poplar Rates Rebellion Mural is a mural in Poplar, London, on the wall of the depot of Tower Hamlets Parks Department on Hale Street, E14
The mural commemorates the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921, when Poplar Borough Council, led by former mayor George Lansbury, refused to pay precepts to London County Council, the Metropolitan Police, the Metropolitan Asylums Board and the Metropolitan Water Board, as a protest against the inequity of the system of local rates. Poplar was a poor borough, with a high level of poverty and "outdoor relief" which the council was required to fund for itself under the poor laws.
The mural records that 30 councillors were imprisoned for contempt of court for refusing a comply with a court order requiring the precepts to be paid. The council continued to hold meetings while the councillors were in prison, with women councillors in Holloway Prison taken by taxi to meet with the men in Brixton Prison. The campaign was widely supported by the general public and trades unions, and in due course the councillors were released from prison. Parliament quickly passed the Local Authorities (Financial Provisions) Act 1921 to try to equalise tax burdens between rich and poor boroughs.
The mural was painted by Mark Francis in 1990. It has four panels, including an image of George Lansbury wearing his mayoral chain of office; placards reading "Can't Pay Won't Pay"', references reference to the campaign to abolish the 1990s era poll tax, and a list of the names of the imprisoned councillors. It was restored in 2007 by David Bratby and Maureen Delenian.Sub judice
In law, sub judice, Latin for "under a judge", means that a particular case or matter is under trial or being considered by a judge or court. The term may be used synonymously with "the present case" or "the case at bar" by some lawyers.
In England and Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Canada, Sri Lanka, and Israel it is generally considered inappropriate to comment publicly on cases sub judice, which can be an offence in itself, leading to contempt of court proceedings. This is particularly true in criminal cases, where publicly discussing cases sub judice may constitute interference with due process.
Prior to 1981 in English law the term was correctly used to describe material which would prejudice court proceedings by publication. Sub judice is now irrelevant to journalists because of the introduction of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. Under Section 2 of the Act, a substantial risk of serious prejudice can only be created by a media report when proceedings are active. Proceedings become active when there is an arrest, oral charge, issue of a warrant, or a summons.
In the United States, there are First Amendment concerns about stifling the right of free speech which prevent such tight restrictions on comments sub judice. However, State Rules of Professional Conduct governing attorneys often place restrictions on the out-of-court statements an attorney may make regarding an ongoing case. Furthermore, there are still protections for criminal defendants, and those convicted in an atmosphere of a media circus have had their convictions overturned for a fairer trial. One example is the murder conviction of Sam Sheppard.Susan McDougal
Susan Carol McDougal (née Henley; born 1955) is one of the few people who served prison time as a result of the Whitewater controversy of the 15 individuals who were convicted of federal charges.
Her refusal to answer "three questions" for a grand jury, on whether President Bill Clinton lied in his testimony during her Whitewater trial, led her to receive a jail sentence of 18 months for contempt of court. That made up most of the total 22 months she spent incarcerated.
She received a full presidential pardon from Clinton in the final hours of his presidency in 2001.Thomas J. Cuddy
Thomas Jefferson Cuddy, known as T.J. Cuddy, nicknamed Tom, (died 1901) was a 19th-century police chief in Los Angeles, California, until bribery forced resignation, and member of the Los Angeles Common Council, the city's governing body. He served a six-month jail term for contempt of court.Tommy Robinson (activist)
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (born 27 November 1982), known as Tommy Robinson, is a British far-right anti-Islam activist. He is the co-founder and former leader of the English Defence League, and later served as a political advisor to former UKIP leader Gerard Batten.Robinson has been active in far-right politics for many years. He was a member of the neo-fascist and white nationalist British National Party (BNP) from 2004 to 2005. For a short time in 2012, he was joint vice-chairman of the British Freedom Party (BFP). Robinson led the EDL from 2009 until 8 October 2013. He continued as an activist, and in 2015 became involved with the development of Pegida UK, a British chapter of the German-based far-right organisation Pegida. From 2017 to 2018, Robinson wrote for and appeared in online videos for The Rebel Media, a Canadian far-right political website.
Robinson has accumulated several criminal convictions and has served three terms of imprisonment. His criminal record includes convictions for violence, financial and immigration frauds, drug possession and public order offences. He has been committed to prison for contempt of court. He has served at least three separate custodial sentences: in 2005 for assault, in 2012 for using false travel documents to enter the United States, and in 2014 for mortgage fraud. In May 2018, Robinson was committed to prison for 13 months for contempt of court after publishing a Facebook Live video of defendants entering a law court, contravening a court order that disallows reporting on such trials while proceedings are ongoing. He served part of his sentence at HM Prison Hull in Kingston upon Hull before being transferred to HM Prison Onley in Warwickshire. On 1 August 2018, due to procedural errors, he was released on bail pending a new hearing of the case. On 5 July 2019, Robinson was again found guilty of contempt of court at the retrial and was committed at the Old Bailey to nine months in prison on 11 July․ Before his sentencing, Robinson appeared on InfoWars and appealed for political asylum in the United States. He was released from prison on 13 September 2019 after serving 9 weeks.Robinson denies racism and antisemitism, and has declared his support for the Jewish people and Israel, calling himself a Zionist.