Jones, In re, Cr. 8042

Decision Date01 May 1975
Docket NumberCr. 8042
Citation120 Cal.Rptr. 914,47 Cal.App.3d 879
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesIn re Robert Green JONES on Habeas Corpus.


Robert Green Jones petitions for writ of habeas corpus. He was found in contempt of court and sentenced to jail. This court ordered him released from jail on his own recognizance after serving nine days and issued an order to show cause.

On January 29, 1975 the San Diego County Superior Court found Jones in contempt of court for failing to obey, for four months, a court order he support his child. The court minutes state:

'Respondent found guilty of 4 counts of comtept (sic). Sentenced to 20 days custody 5 days each count consecutive . . .. Court finds Resp. 'A' (letter) marked for I D, rec'd in evidence . . ..'

That same day the court signed an 'Order Remanding to Sheriff' which stated:

'Respondent sentenced to five days custody on each of four counts, for a total of 20 days custody. Sentence on four counts to be served consecutively. Commitment order to follow.'

Jones went to jail. The court signed an 'Order and Commitment for Contempt (Punitive)' February 6, after his petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the superior court had been denied and after his petition for a writ had been filed in this court.

A valid judgment of contempt must meet strict requirements and must show facts essential to establish jurisdiction for the making of the order, the defendant's knowledge of the order, his ability to comply, and his willful disobedience (In re Hinman, 239 Cal.App.2d 845, 850, 49 Cal.Rptr. 162). Neither the order to the sheriff nor the court minutes quoted above are sufficient. Neither is an order which specifies the offense with particularity as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 1218 (In re Mancini, 215 Cal.App.2d 57, 59, 29 Cal.Rptr. 796). 1

The question is whether the order made 8 days after defendant was committed is proper. We find it unnecessary to judge the contents of the order.

Although respondent states the February 6 order has been 'entered into the records of the Superior Court,' and although it bears a file stamp of the superior court, it does not appear in the superior court record. Code of Civil Procedure section 1218 requires 'the conviction, specifying particularly the offense, and the judgment thereon, must be entered in the docket.' The docket here is the permanent minutes of the court and the February 6 order has not been entered there.

Although the court may have been justified in committing Jones from the courtroom, the court should have signed and entered the final judgment of contempt expeditiously. Until judgment of contempt was signed and entered, Jones had nothing against which to test his commitment. The court's statement in its order to the sheriff indicates the judgment of conviction was not finalized and until then it was 'but a purpose in the breast of the judge which can be changed as he may determine' (...

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10 cases
  • Littlefield, In re
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • September 3, 1992
    ...where, for example, the court does not expeditiously file its order and the contemner is immediately remanded (In re Jones (1975) 47 Cal.App.3d 879, 120 Cal.Rptr. 914 [contemner was remanded immediately for a 20-day jail sentence; written contempt order did not issue until 8 days later] ), ......
  • People v. Brewer
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • March 13, 2015
    ...have the ability to comply with the order, and the Department asked the court to discharge the order to show cause. (See In re Jones (1975) 47 Cal.App.3d 879, 881, [ability to comply an element of valid contempt judgment].)The superior court ordered the Department to provide evidence that t......
  • Soderling v. Office Of The Attorney Gen. Of Cal.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • October 22, 2010
    ...572 [contempt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt]; People v. Gonzalez (1996) 12 Cal.4th 804, 816 [elements]; In re Jones (1975) 47 Cal.App.3d 879, 881 [elements]; Wegner et al., Cal. Practice Guide: Civil Trials and Evidence (The Rutter Group 2009) ¶¶ 431-432.) At the outset, res......
  • In re Marriage of Goddard
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • April 19, 2002
    ...137 Cal.Rptr. 118.) Failing to discuss all of the elements of a contempt in the order is a jurisdictional error. (In re Jones (1975) 47 Cal.App.3d 879, 881, 120 Cal.Rptr. 914.) None of these situations is akin to the failure to formally receive a notice into evidence which is in the superio......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Contempt Demystified
    • United States
    • California Lawyers Association Family Law News (CLA) No. 38-1, March 2016
    • Invalid date
    ...Pen. Code § 1449. To ensure that this requirement is not violated, the court should obtain a time waiver from the citee. In re Jones, 47 Cal. App. 3d 879 (1975); Kroneberger v. Superior Court of California In and For Los Angeles, 196 Cal. App. 2d 206 (1965).In imposing sentence, the court m......

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