When is a Warning Required Before Citing an Attorney for Contempt?

Contempt of Court can be criminal in nature and the Judge has wide latitude to impose sanctions.  But when is a warning required before an attorney can be cited for contempt?  A warning is required before citing an attorney for contempt based on the tone of voice used by the attorney. No warning is required if the statement is contemptuous on its face. Unless the conduct is outrageous and immediately recognizable as an act of contempt, the judge must warn the person that further similar conduct will result in a citation for contempt. The warning must be made on the record, and any contempt order must recite the warning that was given.  What is required to support a finding of direct contempt in such a case is not simply that the alleged contemner used an objectionable tone of voice, but that he or she continued to do so after being admonished according to one Long Beach Criminal Lawyer. A judge, however, may find an attorney in contempt even though the attorney has not engaged in a pattern of repeated violations before the judge. A judge has wide latitude to determine what conduct “so infects orderly judicial proceedings that contempt is permitted.” Because the judge may need to act quickly “to prevent a breakdown of the proceedings,” a single violation may be sufficient.

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