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Copyright (c) 1998 Arkansas Law Review and Bar Association Journal, Inc.
Arkansas Law Review

ARTICLE: Contempt Law in Arkansas


51 Ark. L. Rev. 1


Terry Crabtree *


The court's ability to preserve order by punishing for disobedience of its orders and processes and for acts which hinder the administration of justice has its origins in the common law of England, 1 and the United States Supreme Court looked to those founding principles for guidance before the American Revolution 2 and afterwards. 3 The power to punish for contempt is inherent in the powers of the judiciary to restore order and maintain the dignity and authority of the court. 4 The law on contempt, apart from being codified in some jurisdictions, 5 has not dramatically changed since its origin, other than to comply with the requirements of the United States Constitution, changes in our society, and the laws and constitutions of the individual states. 6 A court lacking the power to enforce its orders would not have a lengthy existence, and along with its inability to operate would come the inability of our government to function as intended by the framers of the constitution due to lack of proper checks and balances. 7


A. Direct Versus Indirect Contempt
Contempt cases fall into two categories: direct contempt and indirect contempt. 8 Direct contempt is an act committed in the presence of the court. Examples of direct contempt are a failure to appear before a court as ordered 9 and disorderly behavior committed during a court's sitting, such as openly insulting the court. 10 Direct contempt is normally dealt with as crimi nal ...
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