They are words that no lawyer ever wants to hear—"You’re in Contempt!"
While most attorneys know that the court has the power to hold them in contempt, probably few in the legal community fully understand when that power can be used, what the consequences of being held in contempt may be, and how the finding can be challenged. Several cases have made headlines in Pennsylvania recently because of citations or sanctions by the court — a client held for 14 years in jail for refusing to reveal to the court and opposing counsel the financial information sought in a divorce proceeding; an attorney sanctioned for his client’s conduct at a deposition, where much profanity was used. You know that findings of contempt may result from disrupting court proceedings, being disrespectful to the judge, and failing to comply with court orders and could come with sanctions such as fines or jail sentences. But do you know all the ins and outs of contempt? That power of the courts is broad and reaches well beyond the courthouse doors.
This program will explore the historical and statutory origins of contempt, highlight the difference between civil and criminal contempt, and provide a step-by-step guide to taking an appeal from a contempt citation. Hear from attorneys who have either been held in contempt or who have represented clients who have been held in contempt, as well as from judges and others who have been part of a contempt proceeding. You’ll also examine what happens when court orders, your actions — or those of your client — create ethical conflicts.
Recorded during a live webcast in March 2010.
3 Total CLE credits, 1 of which may be applied toward Ethics