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Legal Information: Tennessee

Statutes: Tennessee

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November 27, 2023

36-3-610. Contempt

(a) Upon violation of the order of protection or a court-approved consent agreement, the court may hold the defendant in civil or criminal contempt and punish the defendant in accordance with the law. A judge of the general sessions court shall have the same power as a court of record to punish the defendant for contempt when exercising jurisdiction pursuant to this part or when exercising concurrent jurisdiction with a court of record. A judge of the general sessions court who is not a licensed attorney shall appoint an attorney referee to hear charges of criminal contempt.

(b)(1) In addition to the authorized punishments for contempt of court, the judge may assess any person who violates an order of protection or a court-approved consent agreement a civil penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00). The judge may further order that any support payment made pursuant to an order of protection or a court-approved consent agreement be made under an income assignment to the clerk of court.

(2) The judge upon finding a violation of an order of protection or a court-approved consent order shall require a bond of the respondent until such time as the order of protection expires. Such bond shall not be less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) and shall be payable upon forfeit as provided. Bond shall be set at whatever the court determines is necessary to reasonably assure the safety of the petitioner as required. Any respondent for whom bond has been set may deposit with the clerk of the court before which the proceeding is pending a sum of money in cash equal to the amount of the bond. The clerk of the court may deposit funds received in lieu of bonds, or any funds received from the forfeiture of bonds, in an interest bearing account. Any interest received from such accounts shall be payable to the office of the clerk. Failure to comply with this subsection (b) may be punished by the court as a contempt of court as provided in title 29, chapter 9.

(3) If a respondent posting bond under this subsection (b) does not comply with the conditions of the bond, the court having jurisdiction shall enter an order declaring the bond to be forfeited. Notice of the order or forfeiture shall be mailed forthwith by the clerk to the respondent at the respondent’s last known address. If the respondent does not within thirty (30) days from the date of the forfeiture satisfy the court that compliance with the conditions of the bond was met, the court shall enter judgment for the state against the defendant for the amount of the bond and costs of the court proceedings. The judgment and costs may be enforced and collected in the same manner as a judgment entered into a civil action.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit or affect any remedy in effect on the effective date of this act.

(c) Upon collecting the civil penalty imposed by subsection (b), the clerk shall, on a monthly basis, send the money to the state treasurer who shall deposit it in the domestic violence community education fund created by § 36-3-616.

(d) The proceeds of a judgment for the amount of the bond pursuant to this section shall be paid quarterly to the administrative office of the courts. The quarterly payments shall be due on the fifteenth day of the fourth month of the year; the fifteenth day of the sixth month; the fifteenth day of the ninth month; and on the fifteenth day of the first month of the next succeeding year. The proceeds shall be allocated equally on an annual basis as follows:

(1) To provide legal representation to low-income Tennesseans in civil matters in such manner as determined by the supreme court as described in § 16-3-808(c); provided, that one-fourth ( 1/4 ) of such funds shall be allocated to an appropriate statewide nonprofit organization capable of providing continuing legal education, technology support, planning assistance, resource development and other support to organizations delivering civil legal representation to indigents. The remainder shall be distributed to organizations delivering direct assistance to clients with Legal Services Corporation funding as referenced in the Tennessee State Plan for Civil Legal Justice approved in March, 2001, by the Legal Services Corporation;

(2) To the domestic violence state coordinating council, created by title 38, chapter 12, part 1;

(3) To the Tennessee Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CASA); and

(4) To Childhelp.