United States District Court, Southern District of Georgia, Savannah Division
March 25, 2015
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ANTONIO T. KNOX
SHOW CAUSE ORDER
Order Upon his February 4, 2015 guilty plea to the misdemeanor offense of giving a false name to a law enforcement officer in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-10-25, the Court sentenced Antonio T. Knox to two days incarceration. Doc. 6 at 1; see also doc. 1 at 1-2 (criminal complaint). He failed to appear and serve his sentence. The Court issued a criminal arrest warrant for "Failure to Report for Service of Sentence." Doc. 9; see 18 U.S.C. § 3146(a)(2).
Knox consented to be tried before the undersigned, and 28 U.S.C. § 636(e)(3) grants magistrate judges the power to hold parties before them in contempt (by fine, imprisonment, or both) for violating any "order, rule, decree or command." Id. The imposition of such criminal contempt must be, however, "upon notice and hearing under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure." Id.
Furthermore, "[f]ederal Rule of Criminal Procedure 42(a) requires that the contemnor have notice that the proceeding is criminal in nature." In re Wheeler, 2015 WL 896130 at * 3 (5th Cir. Mar. 4, 2015); see also Romero v. Drummond Co., Inc., 480 F.3d 1234, 1244 (11th Cir. 2007) (court may punish contemptuous conduct that occurs outside its presence only after giving notice of essential facts constituting the charged criminal contempt, requesting that the contempt be prosecuted by attorney for government, and affording other procedural protections); Trade Well Intern, v. United Cent. Bank, 778 F.3d 620, 626 (7th Cir. 2015) (attorney could not be held in indirect contempt as punishment for his out-of-court conduct in filing a notice of lien during commercial litigation, even if court meant to invoke criminal contempt, where trial judge neither gave attorney notice that he was being charged with criminal contempt, nor asked government to prosecute the contempt); United States v. Puente, 558 F.App'x 338, 342 (5th Cir. 2013) (punitive sanction for conduct prior to contempt hearing, in failing to appear for sentencing on drug conviction, could not be imposed on defendant who was not given specific notice that contempt proceeding was criminal in nature).
Accordingly, this Order constitutes notice to Knox that on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. in Savannah, Georgia, the Court will convene a criminal contempt hearing against him for violating this Court's sentencing order that he self-report for service of his two night- and-day sentence. He should be prepared to present evidence and to offer argument on why he should not be held in contempt for violating this Court's judgment.
The Clerk shall immediately serve the U.S. Marshall and the United States Attorney with a copy of this Order, as well as prosecuting counsel of record, Jason Thomas. The Marshall shall personally serve this Order upon Knox. The government shall appear and prosecute the contempt.