A criminal contempt, except as provided in ruleconcerning direct contempts, shall be prosecuted in the following manner:
Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.840
(a)(1) Order to Show Cause. The courts have used various and, at times, misleading terminology with reference to this phase of the procedure, viz. "citation," "rule nisi," "rule," "rule to show cause," "information," "indicted," and "order to show cause." Although all apparently have been used with the same connotation the terminology chosen probably is more readily understandable than the others. This term is used in Federal Rule of Criminal Proceduredealing with indirect criminal contempts.
In proceedings for indirect contempt, due process of law requires that the accused be given notice of the charge and a reasonable opportunity to meet it by way of defense or explanation. State ex rel. Giblin v. Sullivan, 157 Fla. 496, 26 So.2d 509 (1946); State ex rel. Geary v. Kelly, 137 So.2d 262, 263 (Fla. 3d DCA 1962).
The petition (affidavit is used here) must be filed by someone having actual knowledge of the facts and must be under oath. Phillips v. State, 147 So.2d 163 (Fla. 3d DCA 1962); see also Croft v. Culbreath, 150 Fla. 60, 6 So.2d 638 (1942); Ex parte Biggers, 85 Fla. 322, 95 So. 763 (1923).
(2) Motions; Answer. The appellate courts of Florida, while apparently refraining from making motions and answers indispensable parts of the procedure, seem to regard them with favor in appropriate situations. Regarding motions to quash and motion for bill of particulars, see Geary v. State, 139 So.2d 891 (Fla. 3d DCA 1962); regarding the answer, see State ex rel. Huie v. Lewis, 80 So.2d 685 (Fla. 1955).
Elsewhere in these rules is a recommended proposal that a motion to dismiss replace the present motion to quash; hence, the motion to dismiss is recommended here.
The proposal contains no requirement that the motions or answer be under oath. Until section, Florida Statutes, was amended in 1945 there prevailed in Florida the common law rule that denial under oath is conclusive and requires discharge of the defendant in indirect contempt cases; the discharge was considered as justified because the defendant could be convicted of perjury if the defendant had sworn falsely in the answer or in a motion denying the charge. The amendment of section , Florida Statutes, however, has been construed to no longer justify the discharge of the defendant merely because the defendant denies the charge under oath. See Ex parte Earman, 85 Fla. 297, 95 So. 755 (1923), re the common law; see Dodd v. State, 110 So.2d 22 (Fla. 3d DCA 1959) re the construction of section , Florida Statutes, as amended. There appears, therefore, no necessity of requiring that a pleading directed to the order to show cause be under oath, except as a matter of policy of holding potential perjury prosecutions over the heads of defendants. It is recommended, therefore, that no oath be required at this stage of the proceeding.
Due process of law in the prosecution for indirect contempt requires that the defendant have the right to assistance by counsel. Baumgartner v. Joughin, 105 Fla. 335, 141 So. 185 (1932), adhered to, 107 Fla. 858, 143 So. 436 (1932).
(3) Order of Arrest; Bail. Arrest and bail, although apparently used only rarely, were permissible at common law and, accordingly, are unobjectionable under present Florida law. At times each should serve a useful purpose in contempt proceedings and should be included in the rule. As to the common law, see Ex parte Biggers, supra.
(4) Arraignment; Hearing. Provision is made for a pre-hearing arraignment in case the defendant wishes to plead guilty to the charge prior to the date set for the hearing. The defendant has a constitutional right to a hearing under the due process clauses of the state and federal constitutions. State ex rel. Pipia v. Buchanan, 168 So.2d 783 (Fla. 3d DCA 1964). This right includes the right to assistance of counsel and the right to call witnesses. Baumgartner v. Joughin, supra. The defendant cannot be compelled to testify against himself. Demetree v. State, ex rel. Marsh, 89 So.2d 498 (Fla. 1956).
Section, Florida Statutes, as amended in 1945, provides that all issues of law or fact shall be heard and determined by the judge. Apparently under this statute the defendant is not only precluded from considering a jury trial as a right but also the judge has no discretion to allow the defendant a jury trial. See State ex rel. Huie v. Lewis, supra, and Dodd v. State, supra, in which the court seems to assume this, such assumption seemingly being warranted by the terminology of the statute.
There is no reason to believe that the statute is unconstitutional as being in violation of section 11 of the Declaration of Rights of the Florida Constitution which provides, in part, that the accused in all criminal prosecutions shall have the right to a public trial by an impartial jury. Criminal contempt is not a crime; consequently, no criminal prosecution is involved. Neering v. State, 155 So.2d 874 (Fla. 1963); State ex rel. Saunders v. Boyer, 166 So.2d 694 (Fla. 2d DCA 1964); Ballengee v. State, 144 So.2d 68 (Fla. 2d DCA 1962).
Section 3 of the Declaration of Rights, providing that the right of trial by jury shall be secured to all and remain inviolate forever, also apparently is not violated. This provision has been construed many times as guaranteeing a jury trial in proceedings at common law, as practiced at the time of the adoption of the constitution (see, e.g., Hawkins v. Rellim Inv. Co., 92 Fla. 784, 110 So. 350 (1926)), i.e., it is applicable only to cases in which the right existed before the adoption of the constitution (see, e.g., State ex rel. Sellers v. Parker, 87 Fla. 181, 100 So. 260 (1924)). Section 3 was never intended to extend the right of a trial by jury beyond this point. Boyd v. Dade County, 123 So.2d 323 (Fla. 1960).
There is some authority that trial by jury in indirect criminal contempt existed in the early common law, but this practice was eliminated by the Star Chamber with the result that for centuries the common law courts have punished indirect contempts without a jury trial. See 36 Mississippi Law Journal 106. The practice in Florida to date apparently has been consistent with this position. No case has been found in this state in which a person was tried by a jury for criminal contempt. See Justice Terrell's comment adverse to such jury trials in State ex rel. Huie v. Lewis, supra.
The United States Supreme Court has assumed the same position with reference to the dictates of the common law. Quoting from Eilenbecker v. District Court, 134 U.S. 31, 36, 10 S.Ct. 424, 33 L.Ed. 801 (1890), the Court stated, "If it has ever been understood that proceedings according to the common law for contempt of court have been subject to the right of trial by jury, we have been unable to find any instance of it." United States v. Barnett, 376 U.S. 681, 696, 84 S.Ct. 984, 12 L.Ed.2d 23 (1964). In answer to the contention that contempt proceedings without a jury were limited to trivial offenses, the Court stated, "[W]e find no basis for a determination that, at the time the Constitution was adopted, contempt was generally regarded as not extending to cases of serious misconduct." 376 U.S. at 701. There is little doubt, therefore, that a defendant in a criminal contempt case in Florida has no constitutional right to a trial by jury.
Proponents for such trials seemingly must depend on authorization by the legislature or Supreme Court of Florida to attain their objective. By enacting section, Florida Statutes, which impliedly prohibits trial by jury the legislature exhibited a legislative intent to remain consistent with the common law rule. A possible alternative is for the Supreme Court of Florida to promulgate a rule providing for such trials and assume the position that under its constitutional right to govern practice and procedure in the courts of Florida such rule would supersede section , Florida Statutes. It is believed that the supreme court has such authority. Accordingly, alternate proposals are offered for the court's consideration; the first provides for a jury trial unless waived by the defendant and the alternate is consistent with present practice.
(5) Disqualification of Judge. Provision for the disqualification of the judge is made in federal rule. The proposal is patterned after this rule.
Favorable comments concerning disqualification of judges in appropriate cases may be found in opinions of the Supreme Court of Florida. See Pennekamp v. State, 156 Fla. 227, 22 So.2d 875 (1945), and concurring opinion in State ex rel Huie v. Lewis, supra.
(6) Verdict; Judgment. "Judgment" is deemed preferable to the term "order," since the proper procedure involves an adjudication of guilty. The use of "judgment" is consistent with present Florida practice. E.g., Dinnen v. State, 168 So.2d 703 (Fla. 2d DCA 1964); State ex rel. Byrd v. Anderson, 168 So.2d 554 (Fla. 1st DCA 1964).
The recital in the judgment of facts constituting the contempt serves to preserve for postconviction purposes a composite record of the offense by the person best qualified to make such recital: the judge. See Ryals v. United States, 69 F.2d 946 (5th Cir. 1934), in which such procedure is referred to as "good practice."
(7) Sentence; Indirect Contempt. The substance of this subdivision is found in present sections 921.05(2), 921.07 and 921.13, Florida Statutes. While these sections are concerned with sentences in criminal cases, the First District Court of Appeal in 1964 held that unless a defendant convicted of criminal contempt is paid the same deference the defendant is not being accorded due process of law as provided in section 12 of the Declaration of Rights of the Florida Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Neering v. State, 164 So.2d 29 (Fla. 1st DCA 1964).
Statement concerning the effect the adoption of this proposed rule will have on contempt statutes:
This rule is not concerned with the source of the power of courts to punish for contempt. It is concerned with desirable procedure to be employed in the implementation of such power. Consequently, its adoption will in no way affect the Florida statutes purporting to be legislative grants of authority to the courts to punish for contempt, viz., sections 38.22 (dealing with "all" courts), 932.03 (dealing with courts having original jurisdiction in criminal cases), and 39.13 (dealing with juvenile courts). This is true regardless of whether the source of power is considered to lie exclusively with the courts as an inherent power or is subject, at least in part, to legislative grant.
The adoption of the rule also will leave unaffected the numerous Florida statutes concerned with various situations considered by the legislature to be punishable as contempt (e.g., section, Florida Statutes), since these statutes deal with substantive rather than procedural law.
Section, Florida Statutes, as discussed in the preceding notes, is concerned with procedure in that it requires the court to hear and determine all questions of law or fact. Insofar, therefore, as criminal contempts are concerned the adoption of the alternate proposal providing for a jury trial will mean that the rule supersedes this aspect of the statute and the statute should be amended accordingly.
1972 Amendment. Same as prior rule..