ORS 33.015¹
Definitions for ORS 33.015 to 33.155

For the purposes of ORS 33.015 (Definitions for ORS 33.015 to 33.155) to 33.155 (Applicability):

(1) “Confinement” means custody or incarceration, whether actual or constructive.

(2) “Contempt of court” means the following acts, done willfully:

(a) Misconduct in the presence of the court that interferes with a court proceeding or with the administration of justice, or that impairs the respect due the court.

(b) Disobedience of, resistance to or obstruction of the court’s authority, process, orders or judgments.

(c) Refusal as a witness to appear, be sworn or answer a question contrary to an order of the court.

(d) Refusal to produce a record, document or other object contrary to an order of the court.

(e) Violation of a statutory provision that specifically subjects the person to the contempt power of the court.

(3) “Punitive sanction” means a sanction imposed to punish a past contempt of court.

(4) “Remedial sanction” means a sanction imposed to terminate a continuing contempt of court or to compensate for injury, damage or costs resulting from a past or continuing contempt of court. [1991 c.724 §1; 2005 c.22 §23]

Notes of Decisions

Under Former Similar Statute (Ors 33.010)

Punish­ment for civil contempt arising from disobedience of lawful judg­ment or decree is restricted to cases in which viola­tion of court order is wilful and with bad intent. State ex rel Oregon State Bar v. Wright, 280 Or 713, 573 P2d 294 (1977)

Provisions of Oregon Juvenile Code, including [former] ORS 419.476 and [former] ORS 419.478, which vest exclusive jurisdic­tion in juvenile court of per­sons under 18, do not vest jurisdic­tion in juvenile court of contempt pro­ceed­ings arising out of juvenile’s refusal to testify before grand jury. State v. Tripp, 36 Or App 141, 583 P2d 591 (1978), Sup Ct review denied

Where pro tem court reporter failed to produce transcripts after time extension had expired, her con­duct constituted contempt of Court of Appeals by of­fi­cer of court. In Matter of Wilson, 42 Or App 515, 601 P2d 133 (1979)

Where court reporter did not file transcripts by their due dates and did not file requests for time extensions, she was in default in those cases, and her failure to comply with Court of Appeals’ orders to produce transcripts was contempt of that court by of­fi­cer under this sec­tion. In the Matter of Virginia Hanks, 44 Or App 521, 606 P2d 1151 (1980), aff’d 290 Or 451, 623 P2d 623 (1981)

Witness before grand jury who dec­lines to answer particular ques­tions has not refused to answer ques­tions until there is adjudica­tion of justifica­tion for refusal, court order to answer ques­tions and sub­se­quent refusal by witness. State ex rel Grand Jury v. Bernier, 64 Or App 378, 668 P2d 455 (1983)

Criminal contempt pro­ceed­ing for disobedience of court order or judg­ment is not “crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­­tion” within meaning of Article I, sec­tion 11 and defendant is not entitled to jury trial. State ex rel Dwyer v. Dwyer, 299 Or 108, 698 P2d 957 (1985)

Cita­tion to wrong subsec­tion of statute, when act being sanc­tioned is stated plainly in order, does not render order ineffective. State v. Crenshaw, 307 Or 160, 764 P2d 1372 (1988)

In contempt pro­ceed­ing for disobedience of court order, defendant may challenge validity of underlying order. State v. Crenshaw, 307 Or 160, 764 P2d 1372 (1988)

Where keeper of records had turned over police internal investiga­tion records pursuant to sub­poe­na, and court after in camera inspec­tion ordered keeper to release those records to defendant, keeper of records could not refuse to comply with order based on conten­tion that court should have quashed the sub­poe­na. State v. Heisler, 106 Or App 7, 806 P2d 1154 (1991)

Where trial court treated contempt under this sec­tion as non-crim­i­nal but imposed crim­i­nal sanc­tion and provided nothing for defendant to purge contempt, state was re­quired to prove all ele­ments of contempt beyond reasonable doubt. Wynne and Wynne, 106 Or App 210, 806 P2d 723 (1991)

Defendant was entitled to assert constitu­tional right against self-incrimina­tion in civil contempt hearing relating to nonpay­ment of support where testimony could be used in crim­i­nal ac­tion for nonsupport. State ex rel Leopold v. McCallister, 106 Or App 324, 807 P2d 325 (1991)

Trial court need not make separate findings re­gard­ing willfulness and bad intent to support judg­ment of contempt. Couey and Couey, 312 Or 302, 821 P2d 1086 (1991)

Where state proved existence of valid court order, father knew of order and did not comply, state es­tab­lished prima faciecase for civil contempt. State ex rel Gibbon v. West, 118 Or App 580, 848 P2d 637 (1993)

Willful disobedience of court order to pay child support is es­tab­lished by failure to pay unless defendant proves inability to pay. State ex rel Mikkelsen v. Hill, 315 Or 452, 847 P2d 402 (1993)

Where judg­ment contained discrete order covering same subject as unmerged prop­erty settle­ment promise, breach of settle­ment promise by one party did not excuse obliga­tion of other party to comply with judg­ment. Barrett and Barrett, 126 Or App 62, 867 P2d 540 (1994), aff’d 320 Or 372, 886 P2d 1 (1994)

Transfer of prisoner to out-of-state correc­tions facility and destruc­tion of prisoner’s prepared legal ma­te­ri­als in retalia­tion for filing suit was contempt. Smith v. Dept. of Correc­tions, 126 Or App 721, 870 P2d 254 (1994)

In General

Disrespectful behavior constitutes miscon­duct whether addressed to judge per­sonally or to the office of judge. State v. Baker, 126 Or App 508, 868 P2d 1368 (1994)

Defendant’s representa­tion that court believed was false did not occur “in presence of court” when court obtained knowledge of falsity of representa­tion by per­sonal observa­tion outside courtroom, off record, while in recess. State v. Ferguson, 173 Or App 118, 20 P3d 242 (2001)

Acting willfully does not require conscious objective or purpose to accomplish particular result. In re Chase, 339 Or 452, 121 P3d 1160 (2005)

Accidental disobedience of court order is not done “willfully.” State v. Montgomery, 216 Or App 221, 172 P3d 279 (2007)

For purpose of determining whether per­son is in contempt of court, sub­poe­na is form of process. State v. McGee, 347 Or 261, 220 P3d 50 (2009)

Where defendant, who believed in good faith that estranged husband had dismissed restraining order against defendant, was found with husband in viola­tion of restraining order, defendant did not “willfully” disobey restraining order. State v. Nicholson, 282 Or App 51, 383 P3d 977 (2016)

Notes of Decisions

Contempt pro­ceed­ing instituted under these sec­tions for husband’s failure to pay spousal support pursuant to dissolu­tion decree is separate pro­ceed­ing from dissolu­tion and trial court’s jurisdic­tion to hold husband in contempt was therefore not defeated by husband’s ap­peal from dissolu­tion decree. Oliver and Oliver, 81 Or App 115, 724 P2d 869 (1986), Sup Ct review denied

Choice-of-evils de­fense could not exonerate defendants charged with contempt for violating injunc­tion arising from demonstra­tion to prevent abor­tions because de­fense is available only if defendants’ necessary con­duct is not inconsistent with other pro­vi­sions of law. Downtown Women’s Center v. Advocates for Life, Inc., 111 Or App 317, 826 P2d 637 (1992)

Contempt pro­ceed­ings are not subject to laws governing venue for crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings. Bachman v. Bachman, 171 Or App 665, 16 P3d 1185 (2000), Sup Ct review denied

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 33—Special Proceedings and Procedures, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors033.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 33, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano033.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information