Skip to content

b. Jail

Posts

  • 1st Circuit

    Courts have the option of confining an unwilling witness to compel compliance Shillitani v. United States, 384 U.S. 364 (1966).

    In In re Grand Jury Proceedings, 744 F.3d 211, 214 (1st Cir. 2014), the court noted that, “Unlike criminal contempt sanctions, incarceration for civil contempt is not for the purpose of punishing recalcitrant respondents but rather is the modern ‘persuasive’ tool . . . . An imprisoned contempter is therefore said to ‘carry the keys to his prison in his own pocket’” (emphasis in original) (citations omitted).

    If the civil contemnor can demonstrate that there is no realistic possibility that continued confinement will result in a compliance, the confinement becomes punitive and the contemnor must be released. See Matter of Federal Grand Jury February 1987 Term (Griffin), 677 F.Supp. 26 (D.Me. 1988).

    view more
  • 2nd Circuit

    In 1972, in U. S. ex rel. Goodman v. Kehl, 456 F.2d 863 (2d Cir. 1972), the Second Circuit affirmed a 30-day jail sentence for a radio station manager who refused to turn over tapes in compliance with a court order. There appear to be no cases in the Second Circuit since Kehl in which a reporter was jailed for refusing to disclose information.

    view more
  • 3rd Circuit

    Although reported opinions do not disclose cases in which a journalist cited for civil contempt for refusal to respond to a valid subpoena has been incarcerated, one lower court initially ordered the journalist placed in the custody of the marshal. The judge then agreed to release her to the custody of her attorney. Criden, 633 F.2d at 350.

    view more
  • 4th Circuit

    Jail is the more common punishment for reporters held in civil contempt in the Fourth Circuit, and sentences appear to be limited only by the discretion of the court. In United States v. Steelhammer, two reporters for the Charleston Gazette were found in contempt for refusing to testify at the civil contempt hearing of union rally members. The district judge ordered the reporters to be held until further order of the court, not to exceed six months. They were held for four to six hours before being released on bail pending an appeal. Other reporters responded to the questions the Gazette reporters refused to answer, and the underlying case was resolved. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the contempt judgments but vacated the unserved portions of the sentences because the underlying proceeding had terminated. Steelhammer, 561 F.2d 539 (4th Cir. 1977) (en banc), rev’g, 539 F.2d 373 (4th Cir. 1976).

    In 1991, four reporters for South Carolina newspapers refused to testify in a criminal trial. The district judge found them in contempt and ordered them confined during the two days of trial; the reporters spent at least one of those days in jail before being released pending an appeal. Shain, 978 F.3d at 852. The contempt convictions were affirmed, but by then the underlying proceeding had ended. Id. at 854. In 1998, a reporter for the Wilmington, N.C., Morning Star, was found in civil contempt and ordered to an indefinite term of imprisonment for refusing to disclose his sources of information about an allegedly confidential, $36 million court settlement. Ashcraft v. Conoco, Inc., 218 F.3d 282, 286-87, 28 Media L. Rep. 2103 (4th Cir. 2000). Before the reporters was required to report to jail, the Fourth Circuit stayed the order pending appeal, and on appeal the Court reversed the contempt order on the grounds that the sealing order the reporter allegedly violated was invalid. Id. at 287-88.

    view more
  • 5th Circuit

    Recipients of a subpoena may be jailed for refusal to comply with the subpoena. See, e.g., United States v. Robinson, 2007 WL 649010, at *4 (W.D. Tex. 2007) ("A district court may enter a civil contempt order of imprisonment in order to coerce the contemnor into future performance of an affirmative act."). Federal law authorizes judges to imprison non-compliant witnesses until the term of the court proceeding or the grand jury expires, but no longer than 18 months. 28 U.S.C. § 1826(a). A judge's decision to jail for contempt is reviewed under the abuse of discretion standard. In re Grand Jury Subpoenas, 29 Media L. Rep. 2301 (5th Cir. Aug. 17, 2001) (per curiam) (unpublished). Courts have jailed individuals for not producing materials subject to a subpoena until the subpoena is complied with. Id. In In re Grand Jury Subpoenas, the Fifth Circuit held that it was not an abuse of discretion to jail a reporter until she furnished all originals or copies of any tape recordings or transcripts of interviews, because reporters are not entitled to a reporter's privilege when subpoenaed before a grand jury. Id.

    view more
  • 6th Circuit

    Jail sentences are usually limited to such time that the reporter has complied with the subpoena, or in a grand jury proceeding until the expiration of the term of the grand jury. See In re Grand Jury Proceedings, 810 F.2d 580, 583 (6th Cir. 1987) (reporter confined until he agreed to release video outtakes.)

    view more
  • 7th Circuit

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

    view more
  • 8th Circuit

    No Eighth circuit case law addresses this issue in the context of the reporter's privilege.

    view more
  • 9th Circuit

    Jail sentences are limited for civil contempt. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1826, a recalcitrant witness can be confined for the duration of the court proceeding or the duration of the term of the grand jury including extensions, before which such refusal to comply with the court order occurred, but under no circumstances shall the confinement exceed 18 months.

    Ronald Watkins, an investigative book author, was incarcerated rather than produce material obtained in the course of interviews for a book he was writing pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1826 (1984). Shoen v. Shoen, 48 F.3d 412, 414 (9th Cir. 1995) (Shoen II) (reversing district court’s order holding investigative book author in contempt for refusing to turn over tapes and notes of conversations with a man accused by his sons of defamation because plaintiff had not exhausted other resources, the material sought was cumulative and the material sought was not relevant). Likewise, Josh Wolf went to prison rather than testify and produce, among other things, unpublished portions of his videotape of a demonstration in which an alleged federal crime took place. See In re Grand Jury Subpoena (Wolf v. United States), 201 Fed. App’x 430 (9th Cir. 2006).

    view more
  • Alabama

    There is no Alabama statutory or reported case law addressing this issue.

    view more
  • Alaska

    Alaska appellate courts have not had occasion to squarely address the existence or scope of a reporter's privilege. Various trial courts have recognized and applied the qualified constitutional privilege in a number of cases, and in none of these has testimony or production of documents been compelled.

    view more
  • Arizona

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue. There are no recent examples of reporters who went to jail rather than disclose the names of confidential sources or information.

    view more
  • Arkansas

    Persons imprisoned for failure to testify can remain there for as long as they refuse to comply with the subpoena or until there is a final disposition of the case in which testimony was sought.

    view more
  • California

    California Code of Civil Procedure § 1218 limits to five days any imprisonment that may be ordered as a result of a contempt order. In one case, Tim Crews, publisher, editor and chief reporter and photographer of The Sacramento Valley Mirror, chose to go to jail rather than reveal the source of stories he published regarding the arrest of a local California Highway Patrol officer for possession of a stolen gun. In response to this and other publicized journalist subpoenas, the California Legislature enacted Code of Civil Procedure § 1986.1, which contains a number of procedural mechanisms designed to protect reporters. In addition, the California Supreme Court has directed trial courts to stay contempt orders pending appeal, to avoid unnecessary confinement of the reporter. New York Times Co. v. Superior Court, 51 Cal. 3d 453, 460, 796 P.2d 811, 273 Cal. Rptr. 98 (1990).

    view more
  • Colorado

    A jail sentence is permitted under Rule 107 in a case where a newsperson refuses to comply with a court order compelling testimony. In People v. Silvers, 99CR2936, Div. 1, an Arapahoe County district judge fined a television reporter $100 and sentenced him to 1 day in jail for violating the court's order compelling him to provide pretrial testimony and evidence in a criminal case. The reporter's sentence was stayed pending appeal. The reporter filed an appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals, case number 02CA2936, and the appellate court approved the lower ruling in part, and disapproved in part. The there is no record of appeal proceedings and the decision was entered without a published opinion. See 2004 Colo. App. LEXIS 581 (Colo. App. April 8, 2004).

    view more
  • Connecticut

    Jail sentences are not limited. There are no recent examples.

    view more
  • D.C. Cir.

    In In re Special Counsel Investigation, 332 F. Supp. 2d 33, 34 (D.D.C. 2004), the district court held a reporter in contempt and ordered him to be confined until he was willing to comply with the discovery order arising out of a grand jury subpoena.  The period of confinement was limited to the life of the term of the grand jury, and in no event could it exceed eighteen months.  Id.  

    view more
  • Delaware

    The statute does not specify a cap on the amount of jail time a judge may impose upon a reporter for refusing to testify or produce documents.

    Courts are authorized to order incarceration for civil contempt at their discretion. See, e.g., 10 Del. C. § 9506 (enabling Justices of the Peace to impose jail time of up to 170 days for civil contempt).

    view more
  • District of Columbia

    Under D.C. Code § 11-944(a), the Superior Court “may punish for disobedience of an order or for contempt committed in the presence of the court.”  See, e.g., In re Wheeler, 18 Med. L. Rptr. 2061 (D.C. Super. Ct. 1991) (reporter held in civil contempt and ordered imprisoned until she agreed to answer questions propounded by plaintiff’s counsel), aff’d in part sub nom. Wheeler v. Goulart, 593 A.2d 173 (D.C. 1991).  An individual imprisoned for 6 consecutive months for civil contempt for disobedience of an order, who continues to disobey the order, may be prosecuted for criminal contempt at any time within 12 months of the first day of incarceration.  Id. § 11-944(b)(3).  Any individual who was charged with civil contempt and then is charged with criminal contempt may continue to be imprisoned for civil contempt until the completion of such individual’s trial for criminal contempt, except that in no case may such an individual be imprisoned for more than 18 consecutive months for civil contempt pursuant to the contempt power.  Id.  D.C. Code § 11-741 provides the same contempt powers for the D.C. Court of Appeals.

    view more
  • Florida

    The jailing of a journalist in Florida for civil contempt in defying a subpoena has never been upheld on appeal. However, in theory contempt is an available remedy for failure to comply with the requirements of a subpoena once a motion to quash has been denied. The reviewing court will look to the merits of the underlying motion to quash in deciding whether to uphold the contempt citation. See, e.g., Tribune Co. v. Huffstetler, 489 So. 2d 722, 724 (Fla. 1986) (quashing subpoena); Morgan v. State, 337 So. 2d 951, 956 (Fla. 1976); (overturning 90-day jail sentence); In re Mary Jo Tierney, 328 So. 2d 40, 47 (Fla. 4th DCA 1976) (vacating contempt sentence due to expiration of term of grand jury before which journalist refused to answer questions).

    view more
  • Georgia

    If an order compelling testimony from a non-party reporter were upheld on direct appeal (an event that has never occurred since enactment of the privilege), a Georgia trial court would be authorized to consider ordering a reporter jailed in order to force compliance with its order. The Georgia Court of Appeals has held that statutory restrictions on contempt powers found at O.C.G.A. § 15-7-4 (fine of no more than $1,000 and/or 20 days in jail) do not to apply in the civil contempt context. Grantham v. Universal Tax Systems, 217 Ga. App. 676, 678 (1995); Mathis v. Corrugated Gear and Sprocket, Inc., 263 Ga. 419, 421-22 (1993).  However, as with all contempt citations, "courts should limit their orders to the least possible exercise of power required." In re Siemon, 264 Ga. 641, 641 (1994).

    view more
  • Hawaii

    There is no authority in Hawai'i regarding the length of jail sentences permissible. Again, however, there are no recent experiences with reporters being jailed or fined for refusal to comply with a subpoena.

    view more
  • Idaho

    There is no statutory or rule-made limit upon jail sentences imposed as part of a contempt order. However, the specifics of such sentences are reviewable by the appellate courts. Ordinarily, in Idaho, such a review is sought by the filing of a Writ of Review with the Idaho Supreme Court, under its original jurisdiction powers. A comprehensive summary of the use of the Writ of Review can be found in the chapter on extraordinary proceedings contained in the Idaho Appellate Handbook published by the Idaho Law Foundation.

    view more
  • Illinois

    In Illinois, reporters have been jailed when found in contempt for not complying with an order to disclose or hand over information the reporters deemed privileged. See People v. Slover, 323 Ill. App. 3d 620, 753 N.E.2d 554 (2001) (jail sentence suspended pending appeal); In re Arya, 226 Ill. App. 3d 848, 589 N.E.2d 832 (1992) (reporter jailed pending appeal). In both of these cases, however, the findings of contempt and the jail sentences were vacated or reversed by an Illinois appellate court.

    view more
  • Indiana

    Jail sentences for civil contempt are not limited so long as they are designed to coerce compliance rather than punish. See Moore v. Ferguson, 680 N.E.2d 862, 865–66 (Ind. App. 1997).

    view more
  • Iowa

    The Iowa Code provides the possible jail sentences for contempt:

    1. In the supreme court or the court of appeals . . . imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months . . . ; 2. Before district judges, district associate judges, and associate juvenile judges . . . imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months . . . ; 3. Before judicial magistrates . . . imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding thirty days.

    Iowa Code § 665.4.

    view more
  • Kansas

    There is no statutory or case law discussing the issue of whether jail sentences in connection with contempt citations against reporters are limited. There have been no recent examples of reporters who went to jail rather than disclose the names of confidential sources or information. The case law generally applicable in contempt cases suggests that imprisonment until the court’s order is obeyed is appropriate. In re Conservatorship of McRoy, 19 Kan. App.2d 31, 861 P.2d 1378 (1993).

    view more
  • Kentucky

    Under KRS 421.140, if a witness refuses to testify, “he shall be imprisoned so long as he refuses,” or until “final disposition of the case in which he so refuses.” However, Kentucky courts have held that incarceration for contempt is extraordinary and subject to limitation. Lewis v. Lewis, 875 S.W.2d 862 (Ky.1993). There are no examples of reporters going to jail rather than disclosing confidential sources.

    view more
  • Louisiana

    "The supreme court, the courts of appeal, the district courts . . . may punish a person adjudged guilty of contempt of court . . . for a deliberate refusal to perform an act which is yet within the power of the offender to perform, by imprisonment until he performs the act." La. R.S. 13:4611 (1)(c).

    "When a contempt of court consists of the omission to perform an act which is yet in the power of the person charged with contempt to perform, he may be imprisoned until he performs, and in such a case this shall be specified in the court's order." La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 226.

    We are not aware of recent examples in Louisiana of reporters going to jail who refused to comply with a valid, upheld subpoena. In Burns, the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated a district court judgment imprisoning a reporter for refusing to identify the place of employment of a confidential source. Burns, supra.

    view more
  • Maine

    No Maine cases.

    view more
  • Maryland

    Maryland cases do not provide examples of reporters who were jailed rather than disclose the names of confidential sources or information. In addition, Maryland cases do not address whether jail sentences are limited.

    view more
  • Massachusetts

    Although there is no precedent of reporters being sentenced to jail for civil contempt, there is some precedent of jail time for civil contempt in other contexts. See e.g., Mahoney v. Commonwealth, 612 N.E.2d 1175 (Mass. 1993).

    view more
  • Michigan

    There have been no appellate cases discussing this precise issue in the reporter setting. There are no limits on jail time although a finding of criminal contempt would be required in order to impose jail time. Criminal contempt requires abiding by all constitutional safeguards for criminal defendants.

    view more
  • Minnesota

    A court may impose a jail sentence on a person found in contempt of court. Minnesota State Bar Assoc.v. Divorce Assistance Assoc., Inc., 248 N.W.2d 733, 740ñ41 (Minn. 1976); Burkstrand v. Burkstrand, No., C2-01-1200, 2002 WL 378092, *4 (Minn. App. Mar. 12, 2002) (unpublished); Nelson v. Nelson, No. CX-96-280, 1996 WL 481533, *2 (Minn. App. Aug. 27, 1996) (unpublished). A civil contempt order, however, cannot impose a fixed sentence; instead, it must allow for release through compliance. See Minn. Stat. §588.12 ("When the contempt consists in the omission to perform an act which is yet in the power of the person to perform, the person may be imprisoned until the person performs it, and in such case the act shall be specified in the warrant of commitment."). "[C]ivil contempt is said to give the contemnor the keys to the jail cell because compliance with the order allows him to purge himself and end the sanction." Burkstrand, 2002 WL 378092, at *4; see also Minnesota State Bar Assoc., 248 N.W.2d at 741.

    view more
  • Mississippi

    One may be jailed for civil contempt; however, the contemnor must be relieved of the penalty when he performs the required act. Purvis v. Purvis, 657 So. 2d 794, 796-97 (Miss. 1994) (emphasis added) (citing Hinds County Bd. of Supervisors v. Common Cause of Mississippi, 551 So. 2d 107, 120 (Miss. 1989)).

    view more
  • Missouri

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue, and no known instances on the state level.

    view more
  • Montana

    Jail sentences for civil contempt are not limited by the statute. This author is aware of no recent instances in which a reporter went to jail rather than disclose.

    view more
  • Nebraska

    Indeterminate jail sentences may be used as a contempt sanction to coerce compliance with a subpoena. There are no known instances of jail confinement imposed on reporters for failing to comply with a subpoena.

    view more
  • Nevada

    NRS 22.100 provides:

    1. Upon the answer and evidence taken, the court or judge or jury, as the case may be, shall determine whether the person proceeded against is guilty of the contempt charged.

    2. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 22.110, if a person is found guilty of contempt, a fine may be imposed on the person not exceeding $500 or the person may be imprisoned not exceeding 25 days, or both.

    3. In addition to the penalties provided in subsection 2, if a person is found guilty of contempt pursuant to subsection 3 of NRS 22.010, the court may require the person to pay to the party seeking to enforce the writ, order, rule or process the reasonable expenses, including, without limitation, attorney's fees, incurred by the party as a result of the contempt.

    NRS 22.110 provides:

    1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, when the contempt consists in the omission to perform an act which is yet in the power of the person to perform, the person may be imprisoned until the person performs it. The required act must be specified in the warrant of commitment.

    2. A person so imprisoned as a result of his or her failure or refusal to testify before a grand jury may be imprisoned in the county jail for a period not to exceed 6 months or until that grand jury is discharged, whichever is less.

    There appear to be no limits for jail sentences in cases of civil contempt. It does not appear that there are any recent cases of reporters who went to jail rather than disclose the names of confidential sources or information. Likewise, it does not appear that there are any recent cases in which reporters have been threatened with jail sentences.

    view more
  • New Hampshire

    There is no statutory or case law limiting jail sentences.

    view more
  • New Jersey

    The maximum jail time for a summary proceeding is 6 months.

    view more
  • New Mexico

    No New Mexico law specifically addresses this issue with respect to an unsuccessful assertion of the reporter’s privilege. In general, however, courts can impose coercive jail sentences in cases of civil contempt. No law limits such sentences.

    view more
  • New York

    While courts have the power to jail journalists who fail to comply with valid subpoenas pursuant to CPLR § 2308 as long as they disobey court orders (see Section VII(D) above), it is extremely rare for such sanctions to have been imposed on journalists without being reversed on appeal. See, e.g., In Re WBAI-FM (People v. Doe), 39 A.D.2d 869, 333 N.Y.S.2d 876 (1st Dep't 1972) (reversing order finding radio station in contempt -- unclear whether civil or criminal contempt -- and committing general manager of radio station to jail for thirty days in addition to imposing fine of $250, where subpoena was overbroad). Moreover, in the rare instances where such sanctions have been imposed and upheld, they have been issued in older cases prior to the enactment of New York's Shield Law. See In re Cepeda, 233 F. Supp. 465 (S.D.N.Y. 1964) (applying California law, court found journalist for bi-weekly periodical liable for criminal contempt and committed him to custody of Attorney General for ten days for refusing to name confidential sources during deposition in New York and during hearing before court, holding that he did not fall within protections of California's Shield Law); Garland v. Torre, 259 F.2d 545, 1 Media Law Rep. 2541 (2d Cir.) (journalist for the New York Herald Tribune held in criminal contempt and sentenced to ten days in jail, though promptly released, for refusing to divulge at pre-trial deposition confidential source of quotation attributed to a CBS "network executive" in defamation lawsuit brought by actress Judy Garland), cert denied, 358 U.S.910 (1958).

    view more
  • North Carolina

    While journalists may be jailed for civil contempt until they comply with a subpoena since they "hold the keys to the jailhouse," there are no North Carolina state cases in which a journalist has been jailed for civil contempt. However, in a federal court case, a reporter for the Wilmington, North Carolina Morning Star newspaper was found in civil contempt by a federal district court for refusing to divulge the identities of certain confidential news sources and remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal "until such time as he purges himself of contempt by complying with the terms of the Orders of this Court." See Ashcraft v. Conoco, Inc., 218 F.3d 282, 286, 28 Media L. Rep. 2103 (4th Cir. 2000). This order, however, was stayed by the Fourth Circuit and, on the merits, the Fourth Circuit reversed the lower court's contempt order concluding that the basis of the court's order, the purported enforcement of a confidentiality order entered by the court, was invalid because of the court's failure to comply with the legal prerequisites for the entry of confidentiality orders. Id.

    view more
  • North Dakota

    Applicable jail sentences for failing to comply with a subpoena are general sentences, and there are no exceptions for journalists protected under the shield law. North Dakota has never sent a reporter to jail for failing to disclose the names of confidential sources of information.

    view more
  • Ohio

    Rule 45(E), Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure:

    Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon that person may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued. A subpoenaed person or that person's attorney who frivolously resists discovery under this rule may be required by the court to pay the reasonable expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees, of the party seeking the discovery. The court from which a subpoena was issued may impose upon a party or attorney in breach of the duty imposed by division (C)(1) of this rule an appropriate sanction, which may include, but is not limited to, lost earnings and reasonable attorney's fees.

    view more
  • Oklahoma

    There are no recent examples in Oklahoma of reporters jailed for refusal to disclose sources or unpublished information.

    view more
  • Oregon

    No statutory or case law addressing this issue.

    view more
  • Pennsylvania

    The court has the power to jail a person for civil contempt to coerce compliance with an order, and there is no limit to the jail sentence a court may impose. See Commonwealth v. McMullen, 961 A.2d 842, 849-50 (Pa. 2008). The court must release the contemnor, however, upon an indication that she intends to obey the court order: a person jailed for civil contempt “has the key to the jail house.” Crozer-Chester, 560 A.2d at 137. A court may not order imprisonment to coerce compliance with an order if imprisonment would make compliance impossible. Wetzel v. Suchanek, 541 A.2d 761, 763 (Pa. Super. 1988).

    view more
  • Rhode Island

    Findings of contempt are within the sound discretion of the trial judge. Durfee v. Ocean State Steel, Inc., 636 A.2d 698, 704 (R.I. 1994).

    view more
  • South Carolina

    If the purpose of the confinement is to coerce compliance with a court order, confinement can last as long as compliance remains relevant to the controversy before the court. If the reporter fails to comply with an order compelling testimony, but the trial continues without the testimony, the confinement must end when the trial ends because there will be no opportunity to purge the contempt. One South Carolina reporter, Twila Decker, was sentenced to jail for civil contempt, but the Supreme Court of South Carolina stayed the confinement pending an accelerated appeal of the contempt citation. Matter of Decker, 322 S.C. 212, 471 S.E.2d 459 (1995).

    view more
  • South Dakota

    Refusal to testify is punishable by fine up to $50 and imprisonment until willing to testify. SDCL 19-5-12.

    view more
  • Tennessee

    Tennessee law generally authorizes courts to punish civil contempt by imprisonment not exceeding ten days. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-9-103. If the person held in contempt has refused to perform an act mandated by the court and the person has the ability to comply with the order at the time of the contempt hearing, the court may imprison the person until the act is performed. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-9-104; Ahern v. Ahern, 15 S.W.3d 73, 79 (Tenn. 2000).

    view more
  • Texas

    As stated above, failure to comply with a subpoena may also be punishable by confinement. Tex. R. Civ. P. 176.8. There is no limit in the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure to the maximum confinement time a court may order for civil contempt, although, as a general rule, a court will order confinement until compliance or until the reason for confinement is moot.

    view more
  • Utah

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

    view more
  • Vermont

    Vermont law authorizes a jail sentence for a “party” who violates an order made against him or her in a case pending in a Vermont superior court. 12 V.S.A. §§ 122-123. The Vermont Supreme Court has held that the statute’s reference to “party” does not preclude a court from punishing for contempt persons who are not actually parties to the case. Horton v. Chamberlain, 152 Vt. 351, 354, 566 A.2d 953, 954 (Vt. 1989). Imprisonment must be in a correctional facility maintained by or for the state, 12 V.S.A. § 123(a), and any person so imprisoned, in addition to any other legal right and remedies available to them, is entitled to annual review of the contempt proceedings. 12 V.S.A. § 123(b).

    view more
  • Virginia

    When a reporter is summarily held in civil contempt in the circuit court, there is no limit to the amount of time a reporter may remain in jail. When a reporter is summarily held in contempt in the district court, the term of imprisonment shall not exceed 10 days. Virginia Code § 18.2-458.

    view more
  • Washington

    Washington's case law has not yet squarely addressed this issue.

    view more
  • West Virginia

    In West Virginia, there is no history of reporters being jailed for failure to comply with a subpoena. There are no recent examples of reporters who have gone to jail for failure to disclose confidential sources or information, and the passage of West Virginia’s Reporter’s Privilege statute, W.Va. Code § 57-3-10, likely decreases greatly the chance that such situations will occur.

     

    There is no statute or caselaw specifically addressing contempt proceedings where a reporter refuses to comply with a subpoena. Generally, West Virginia Code § 57-5-6 allows a court to sentence a person to remain in jail until "he shall give such evidence or produce such writing or document" as he was summoned and ordered to give. Before such a remedy may be invoked by the court, the court must inform the person that he or she is in contempt. The person is entitled to be present with counsel and to be heard as to why he or she has not complied, and the court must base any decision to jail the person for civil contempt on competent evidence. In re Yoho, 171 W.Va. 625, 301 S.E.2d 581 (1983).

    view more
  • Wisconsin

    The court may impose a jail sentence against a reporter held in civil contempt only so long as the contempt continues and, in no event, longer than six months. See Wis. Stat. § 785.04(1)(b).

    view more
  • Wyoming

    There are no known cases in Wyoming where reporters went to jail rather than disclose the names of confidential sources or information.

    view more