388 F.2d 511 (10th Cir. 1968), 9142, Dunn v. United States

Docket Nº:9142.
Citation:388 F.2d 511
Party Name:Vardaman S. DUNN, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case Date:January 24, 1968
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Page 511

388 F.2d 511 (10th Cir. 1968)

Vardaman S. DUNN, Appellant,


UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 9142.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

January 24, 1968

Page 512

Jack N. Hays, Tulsa, Okl. (David H. Sanders, Tulsa, Okl. and Charles Clark, Jackson, Miss., on the brief), for appellant.

Hubert A. Marlow, Asst. U.S. Atty. (John M. Imel, U.S. Atty. and Robert P. Santee, Asst. U.S. Atty., on the brief), for appellee.

Before BREITENSTEIN, HILL and SETH, Circuit Judges.

BREITENSTEIN, Circuit Judge.

This is a companion case to Hyde Construction Company v. Koehring Company, No. 8717, 10 Cir., 388 F.2d 501, decided this day. Reference is made to the factual background there described.

Appellant Dunn was found guilty of criminal contempt because of the violation of a March 11, 1964, temporary restraining order entered by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. That order forbade Hyde Construction Company, its attorneys and agents, from proceeding with a state action pending in the Chancery Court of Mississippi. We have held in case No. 8717 that such order was invalid under 28 U.S.C. § 2283. Dunn contends that the federal court did not have jurisdiction because the case had been voluntarily dismissed under Rule 41(a)(1), F.R.Civ.P. We have held to the contrary.

Dunn says that he had no free choice because the Mississippi court had ordered him to proceed with the trial before it. The record does not sustain the contention. 1 Dunn further argues

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that his duty to his client required him to proceed with the Mississippi trial. Devotion to a client is no excuse for the violation of a court order.

Our decision that the restraining order was invalid because forbidden by 28 U.S.C. § 2283 does not destroy the criminal contempt conviction. When a court has jurisdiction of the subject matter and person, its orders must be obeyed until reversed for error by orderly review. 2 The district court had the requisite jurisdiction. Although it may be that Dunn did not have an opportunity to appeal the restraining order which had a life of only ten days, 3 he should have obeyed it for that short period. The Supreme Court has said that: 'Violations of an order are punishable as criminal contempt even though the order is set aside on appeal, * * *.' 4

Our greatest difficulty is that the...

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