Legal Dictionary

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W

Civil Contempt

Civil Contempt is continuing contempt (a judicial finding of disobedience or disruptive conduct) for which the court imposes a penalty that is lifted once the contempt ends. For example, if a witness fails to comply with a court order, the judge would put the witness in jail or impose a daily fine until the witness complied with the order. Journalists who refuse to testify about confidential sources can be held in contempt of court; however, in California, journalists are mostly protected from contempt citations by a Shield Law, which is part of the state's constitution. The California Shield Law does not protect journalists in Federal proceedings.