2005 Florida Statutes
Punishment for contempt of court; alternative sanctions.
984.09 Punishment for contempt of court; alternative sanctions.--
(1) CONTEMPT OF COURT; LEGISLATIVE INTENT.--The court may punish any child for contempt for interfering with the court or with court administration, or for violating any provision of this chapter or order of the court relative thereto. It is the intent of the Legislature that the court restrict and limit the use of contempt powers with respect to commitment of a child to a secure facility. A child who commits direct contempt of court or indirect contempt of a valid court order may be taken into custody and ordered to serve an alternative sanction or placed in a secure facility, as authorized in this section, by order of the court.
(2) PLACEMENT IN A SECURE FACILITY.--A child may be placed in a secure facility for purposes of punishment for contempt of court if alternative sanctions are unavailable or inappropriate, or if the child has already been ordered to serve an alternative sanction but failed to comply with the sanction.
(a) A delinquent child who has been held in direct or indirect contempt may be placed in a secure detention facility for 5 days for a first offense or 15 days for a second or subsequent offense, or in a secure residential commitment facility.
(b) A child in need of services who has been held in direct contempt or indirect contempt may be placed, for 5 days for a first offense or 15 days for a second or subsequent offense, in a staff-secure shelter or a staff-secure residential facility solely for children in need of services if such placement is available, or, if such placement is not available, the child may be placed in an appropriate mental health facility or substance abuse facility for assessment. In addition to disposition under this paragraph, a child in need of services who is held in direct contempt or indirect contempt may be placed in a physically secure setting as provided under s. 984.226 if conditions of eligibility are met.
(3) ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS.--Each judicial circuit shall have an alternative sanctions coordinator who shall serve under the chief administrative judge of the juvenile division of the circuit court, and who shall coordinate and maintain a spectrum of contempt sanction alternatives in conjunction with the circuit plan implemented in accordance with s. 790.22(4)(c). Upon determining that a child has committed direct contempt of court or indirect contempt of a valid court order, the court may immediately request the alternative sanctions coordinator to recommend the most appropriate available alternative sanction and shall order the child to perform up to 50 hours of community-service manual labor or a similar alternative sanction, unless an alternative sanction is unavailable or inappropriate, or unless the child has failed to comply with a prior alternative sanction. Alternative contempt sanctions may be provided by local industry or by any nonprofit organization or any public or private business or service entity that has entered into a contract with the Department of Juvenile Justice to act as an agent of the state to provide voluntary supervision of children on behalf of the state in exchange for the manual labor of children and limited immunity in accordance with s. 768.28(11).
(4) CONTEMPT OF COURT SANCTIONS; PROCEDURE AND DUE PROCESS.--
(a) If a child is charged with direct contempt of court, including traffic court, the court may impose an authorized sanction immediately.
(b) If a child is charged with indirect contempt of court, the court must hold a hearing within 24 hours to determine whether the child committed indirect contempt of a valid court order. At the hearing, the following due process rights must be provided to the child:
1. Right to a copy of the order to show cause alleging facts supporting the contempt charge.
2. Right to an explanation of the nature and the consequences of the proceedings.
3. Right to legal counsel and the right to have legal counsel appointed by the court if the juvenile is indigent, pursuant to s. 985.203
4. Right to confront witnesses.
5. Right to present witnesses.
6. Right to have a transcript or record of the proceeding.
7. Right to appeal to an appropriate court.
The child's parent or guardian may address the court regarding the due process rights of the child. The court shall review the placement of the child every 72 hours to determine whether it is appropriate for the child to remain in the facility.
(c) The court may not order that a child be placed in a secure facility for punishment for contempt unless the court determines that an alternative sanction is inappropriate or unavailable or that the child was initially ordered to an alternative sanction and did not comply with the alternative sanction. The court is encouraged to order a child to perform community service, up to the maximum number of hours, where appropriate before ordering that the child be placed in a secure facility as punishment for contempt of court.
(d) In addition to any other sanction imposed under this section, the court may direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold issuance of, or suspend, a child's driver's license or driving privilege. The court may order that a child's driver's license or driving privilege be withheld or suspended for up to 1 year for a first offense of contempt and up to 2 years for a second or subsequent offense. If the child's driver's license or driving privilege is suspended or revoked for any reason at the time the sanction for contempt is imposed, the court shall extend the period of suspension or revocation by the additional period ordered under this paragraph. If the child's driver's license is being withheld at the time the sanction for contempt is imposed, the period of suspension or revocation ordered under this paragraph shall begin on the date on which the child is otherwise eligible to drive. For a child in need of services whose driver's license or driving privilege is suspended under this paragraph, the court may direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to issue the child a license for driving privileges restricted to business or employment purposes only, as defined in s. 322.271, or for the purpose of completing court-ordered community service, if the child is otherwise qualified for a license. However, the department may not issue a restricted license unless specifically ordered to do so by the court.
(5) ALTERNATIVE SANCTIONS COORDINATOR.--There is created the position of alternative sanctions coordinator within each judicial circuit, pursuant to subsection (3). Each alternative sanctions coordinator shall serve under the direction of the chief administrative judge of the juvenile division as directed by the chief judge of the circuit. The alternative sanctions coordinator shall act as the liaison between the judiciary, local department officials, district school board employees, and local law enforcement agencies. The alternative sanctions coordinator shall coordinate within the circuit community-based alternative sanctions, including nonsecure detention programs, community service projects, and other juvenile sanctions, in conjunction with the circuit plan implemented in accordance with s. 790.22(4)(c).
History.--s. 95, ch. 97-238; s. 1, ch. 97-281; s. 2, ch. 2000-134; s. 16, ch. 2000-135.