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In re Marriage of Shelhamer

Court of Appeals of Kansas

April 18, 2014

In the Matter of the Marriage of Aaron E. Shelhamer, Appellee, and Kara A. Shelhamer, Appellant

Appeal from Sedgwick District Court; Bruce C. Brown, judge.

SYLLABUS

BY THE COURT

1. A trial court's determination that conduct constitutes contempt is reviewed de novo, while the imposition of sanctions is reviewed for abuse of discretion.

2. When a judicial action is premised on an error of law it is by definition an abuse of discretion.

3. Civil contempt sanctions are intended to be remedial and must allow the contemnor to purge the contempt at any time by complying with the order in question.

4. Jail sentences for a definitive period are punitive in nature and improper for civil contempt as the contemnor is given no opportunity to purge the contempt.

5. Sanctions for criminal contempt are intended to punish the contemnor for disobedience or disrespect to the court.

6. When a district court simply wants to punish a contemnor, the proper remedy is a proceeding in criminal contempt.

7. When a court undertakes to punish in criminal contempt, the due process rights that attend any criminal charge apply.

Rebecca Mann, of Young, Bogle, McCausland, Wells & Blanchard, P.A., of Wichita, for appellant.

No appearance by appellee.

Before McAnany, P.J., Standridge and Stegall, JJ.

OPINION


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