Muniz v. Hoffman 20 8212 1924

Decision Date25 June 1975
Docket NumberNo. 73,73
Citation45 L.Ed.2d 319,95 S.Ct. 2178,422 U.S. 454
PartiesJames R. MUNIZ et al., Petitioners, v. Roy O. HOFFMAN, Director, Region 20, National Labor Relations Board. —1924
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

After their request for a jury trial was denied, petitioners, a labor union officer and the union, were adjudged guilty of criminal contempt for violating temporary injunctions issued by the District Court pursuant to § 10(l) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) against picketing of an employer pending the National Labor Relations Board's final disposition of the employer's unfair labor practice charge against such picketing. The District Court suspended sentencing of the officer and placed him on probation, but imposed a $10,000 fine on the union. On appeal the Court of Appeals rejected petitioners' claims that they had a statutory right to a jury trial under 18 U.S.C. § 3692, which provides for jury trial in contempt cases arising under any federal law governing the issuance of injunctions 'in any case' growing out of a labor dispute, and that they also had a right to a jury trial under the Constitution (the latter question being limited in this Court to whether the union had such a constitutional right). Held:

1. Petitioners are not entitled to a jury trial under 18 U.S.C. § 3692. Pp. 458-474.

(a) It is clear from § 10(l) of the NLRA, as added by the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), and related sections, particularly § 10(h)(which provides that the courts' jurisdiction to grant temporary injunctive relief or to enforce or set aside an NLRB unfair practice order shall not be limited by the Norris-LaGuardia Act), and from the legislative history of such sections, that Congress not only intended to exempt injunctions authorized by the NLRA and the LMRA from the Norris-LaGuardia Act's limitations, including original § 11 of the latter Act (now repealed) requiring jury trials in contempt actions arising out of that Act, but also intended that civil and criminal contempt proceedings enforcing those injunctions were not to afford contemnors the right to a jury trial. By providing for labor Act injunctions outside the Norris-LaGuardia Act's framework, Congress necessarily contemplated that there would be no right to a jury trial in such contempt proceedings. Pp. 458-467.

(b) Absent an express provision or any indication in the Reviser's Note to 18 U.S.C. § 3692 that a substantive change in the law was contemplated, no intention on Congress' part to change its original intention that there be no jury trials in contempt proceedings arising out of NLRA injunctions, is shown by the fact that § 11 of the Norris-LaGuardia Act was repealed and replaced by § 3692 as part of the 1948 revision of the Criminal Code. Just as § 3692 may not be read apart from other relevant provisions of the labor law, that section likewise may not be read isolated from its legislative history and the revision process from which it emerged, all of which place definite limitations on this Court's latitude in construing it. Pp. 467-474.

2. Nor does petitioner union have a right to a jury trial under Art. III, § 2, of the Constitution, and the Sixth Amendment. Despite 18 U.S.C. § 1(3), which defines petty offenses as those crimes 'the penalty for which does not exceed imprisonment for a period of six months or a fine of not more than $500, or both,' a contempt need not be considered a serious crime under all circumstances where the punishment is a fine of more than $500, unaccompanied by imprisonment. Here, where it appears that petitioner union collects dues from some 13,000 persons, the $10,000 fine imposed was not of such magnitude that the union was deprived of whatever right to a jury trial it might have under the Sixth Amendment. Pp. 475-477.

9 Cir., 492 F.2d 929, affirmed.

Victor J. Van Bourg, San Francisco, Cal., for petitioners.

Sol. Gen., Robert H. Bork, for respondent.

Mr. Justice WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

The issues in this case are whether a labor union or an individual, when charged with criminal contempt for violating an injunction issued pursuant to § 10(l) of the Labor Management Relations Act, as added, 61 Stat. 149, and as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 160(l), has a right to a jury trial under 18 U.S.C. § 3692, and whether the union has a right to a jury trial under the Constitution when charged with such a violation and a fine of as much as $10,000 is to be imposed.


Early in 1970, Local 21 of the San Francisco Typographical Union commenced picketing a publishing plant of a daily newspaper in San Rafael, Cal. Shortly thereafter, the newspaper filed an unfair labor practice charge against this union activity, and the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board, in response to that filing, petitioned the District Court pursuant to § 10(l) for a temporary injunction against those activities pending final disposition of the charge by the Board. The District Court, after a hearing, granted the requested relief and, more than two months later, granted a second petition for a temporary injunction filed by the Regional Director in response to other union activities related to the original dispute. On June 24, 1970, Local 21 and certain of its officials were found to be in civil contempt of the latter injunction. After the entry of this contempt order, the tempo of illegal activities in violation of both injunctions increased, with other locals, including Local 70, participating. Various unions and their officers, including petitioners, were subsequently ordered to show cause why they should not be held in civil and criminal contempt of the injunctions. After proceedings in the criminal contempt case had been severed from the civil contempt proceedings, petitioners demanded a jury trial in the criminal case; this request was denied and petitioners were adjudged guilty of criminal contempt after appropriate proceedings. The District Court suspended the sentencing of petitioner Muniz and placed him on probation for one year; the court imposed a fine on petitioner Local 70 which, for purposes of this case, was $10,000.1 On appeal of that judgment to the Court of Appeals, petitioners argued, inter alia, that they had a statutory right to a jury trial of any disputed issues of fact, relying on 18 U.S.C. § 3692;2 petitioners also argued that they had a right to a jury trial under Art. III, § 2, of the Constitution, and the Sixth Amendment. The Court of Appeals rejected these and other claims made by petitioners, 492 F.2d 929 (CA9 1974), who then petitioned this Court for a writ of certiorari. The writ was granted, 419 U.S. 992, 95 S.Ct. 302, 42 L.Ed.2d 264 (1974), limited to the questions whether petitioners had a statutory right to a jury trial and whether petitioner Local 70 had a constitutional right to jury trial in this case.


The petitioners' claim to jury trial under § 3692 is simply stated: that section provides for jury trial in contempt cases arising under any federal law governing the issuance of injunctions in any case growing out of a labor dispute; here, the injunction issued under § 10(l) arose out of a labor dispute in the most classic sense and hence contempt proceedings were subject to § 3692's requirement for jury trial. Were we to consider only the language of § 3692, we might be hard pressed to disagree. But it is not unusual that exceptions to the applicability of a statute's otherwise all-inclusive language are not contained in the enactment itself but are found in another statute dealing with particular situations to which the first statute might otherwise apply.3 Tidewater Oil Co. v. United States, 409 U.S. 151, 93 S.Ct. 408, 34 L.Ed.2d 375 (1972); MacEvoy Co. v. United States, ex rel. Tomkins Co., 322 U.S. 102, 64 S.Ct. 890, 88 L.Ed. 1163 (1944). The Norris-LaGuardia Act, 47 Stat. 70, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 101 et seq., for example, categorically withdraws jurisdiction from the United States courts to issue any injunctions against certain conduct arising out of labor disputes and permits other injunctions in labor disputes only if certain procedural formalities are satisfied. It contains no exceptions with respect to injunctions in those labor disputes dealt with by the Wagner Act, passed in 1935, or by the Taft-Hartley Act passed in 1947. Yet those Acts expressly or impliedly, Boys Markets, Inc. v . Retail Clerk's Union, 398 U.S. 235, 90 S.Ct. 1583, 26 L.Ed.2d 199 (1970), authorized various kinds of injunctions in labor dispute cases and expressly or impliedly exempted those injunctions from the jurisdictional and procedural limitations of Norris-LaGuardia to the extent necessary to effectuate the provisions of those Acts.

The crucial issue is whether in enacting the Wagner and Taft-Hartley Acts, Congress not only intended to exempt the injunctions they authorized from Norris-LaGuardia's limitations, but also intended that civil and criminal contempt proceedings enforcing those injunctions were not to afford contemnors the right to a jury trial. Surely, if § 10(l) of Taft-Hartley had expressly provided that contempt proceedings arising from the injunctions which the section authorized would not be subject to jury trial requirements, it would be as difficult to argue that § 3692 nevertheless requires a jury trial as it would be to insist that Norris-LaGuardia bars the issuance of any injunctions in the first place. Section 10(l), of course, does not so provide; we think it reasonably clear from that and related sections and from their legislative history that this result is precisely what Congress intended.

The Wagner Act made employers subject to court orders enforcing Board cease-and-desist orders. Those orders, or many of them, were of the kind Norris-LaGuardia, on its face, prohibited; but § 10(h) of the Wagner Act provided that in 'granting appropriate temporary relief or a restraining order, or . . . enforcing . . . or setting aside . . . an...

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