Uncivil contempt — UPDATED

The district court ordered Glay Collier, a bankruptcy attorney, to stop advertising for “no money down” Chapter 7 services.  Despite efforts by Collier, some online ads remained. The district court found him in contempt and ordered him confined for 48 hours “[a]s a result of the violation of this Court’s order, without any reasonable excuse other than ‘I forgot[.]'”  In re Glay Collier, No. 14-30887 (Sept. 19, 2014, unpublished).  The Fifth Circuit granted mandamus, finding that this order involved criminal rather than civil contempt, and thus triggered procedural safeguards that had not been invoked.  Among other considerations, the Court noted that “the sanction was for an unconditional term of imprisonment,” that Collier “could have taken additional steps to comply with the court’s order by the time he was remanded into custody,” and that the district court cited “‘the violation’ of [its] order (not the continued non-compliance) as the basis for its finding of civil contempt.”  A similar order was treated in the same fashion in the later case of Wheeler v. Collier, No. 14-30961 (March 5, 2015, unpublished).

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