|Passed by the House February 23, 2009|
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Passed by the Senate March 31, 2009
President of the Senate
I, Barbara Baker, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is HOUSE BILL 1218 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.
Governor of the State of Washington
Secretary of State
State of Washington
|State of Washington||61st Legislature||2009 Regular Session|
Read first time 01/15/09. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
AN ACT Relating to imprisonment for contempt of court cases; and amending RCW 7.21.040 and 7.21.050.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1 RCW 7.21.040 and 1989 c 373 s 4 are each amended to read
(1) Except as otherwise provided in RCW 7.21.050, a punitive sanction for contempt of court may be imposed only pursuant to this section.
(2)(a) An action to impose a punitive sanction for contempt of court shall be commenced by a complaint or information filed by the prosecuting attorney or city attorney charging a person with contempt of court and reciting the punitive sanction sought to be imposed.
(b) If there is probable cause to believe that a contempt has been committed, the prosecuting attorney or city attorney may file the information or complaint on his or her own initiative or at the request of a person aggrieved by the contempt.
(c) A request that the prosecuting attorney or the city attorney commence an action under this section may be made by a judge presiding in an action or proceeding to which a contempt relates. If required for the administration of justice, the judge making the request may appoint a special counsel to prosecute an action to impose a punitive sanction for contempt of court.
A judge making a request pursuant to this subsection shall be disqualified from presiding at the trial.
(d) If the alleged contempt involves disrespect to or criticism of a judge, that judge is disqualified from presiding at the trial of the contempt unless the person charged consents to the judge presiding at the trial.
(3) The court may hold a hearing on a motion for a remedial sanction jointly with a trial on an information or complaint seeking a punitive sanction.
(4) A punitive sanction may be imposed for past conduct that was a contempt of court even though similar present conduct is a continuing contempt of court.
(5) If the defendant is found guilty of contempt of court under this section, the court may impose for each separate contempt of court a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or imprisonment ((
county jail)) for not more than one year, or both.
Sec. 2 RCW 7.21.050 and 1989 c 373 s 5 are each amended to read
(1) The judge presiding in an action or proceeding may summarily impose either a remedial or punitive sanction authorized by this chapter upon a person who commits a contempt of court within the courtroom if the judge certifies that he or she saw or heard the contempt. The judge shall impose the sanctions immediately after the contempt of court or at the end of the proceeding and only for the purpose of preserving order in the court and protecting the authority and dignity of the court. The person committing the contempt of court shall be given an opportunity to speak in mitigation of the contempt unless compelling circumstances demand otherwise. The order of contempt shall recite the facts, state the sanctions imposed, and be signed by the judge and entered on the record.
(2) A court, after a finding of contempt of court in a proceeding under subsection (1) of this section may impose for each separate contempt of court a punitive sanction of a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment ((
in the county jail)) for not more
than thirty days, or both, or a remedial sanction set forth in RCW
7.21.030(2). A forfeiture imposed as a remedial sanction under this
subsection may not exceed more than five hundred dollars for each day
the contempt continues.