Jury Trial Required to Sustain 9-Month Sentence for Contempt

The pace of the Court’s docket has slowed down since the end of August, but the stakes are still high for some litigants. Relator Todd Tomasella was convicted of criminal contempt and sentenced to consecutive terms of 6 and 3 months. The Court of Appeals granted habeas corpus because Tomasella had not had a jury trial, which cannot be denied if the sentence is in excess of six months. However, Tomasella had also been convicted of civil contempt, and he did not challenge that portion of the conviction in his habeas petition. The Court of Appeals therefore discharged the conviction and sentence for criminal contempt, but left the conviction and sentence for civil contempt in place. As a result, Tomasella will apparently remain in the custody of the Kaufman County Sheriff for an unspecified period of time.

In re Tomasella, No. 05-13-01077-CV

Recent Related Posts