ORS 33.065
Procedure for imposition of punitive sanctions


Except as otherwise provided in ORS 161.685 (Effect of nonpayment of fines, restitution or costs), proceedings to impose punitive sanctions for contempt shall be conducted as provided in this section.


The following persons may initiate the proceeding by an accusatory instrument charging a person with contempt of court and seeking a punitive sanction:


A city attorney.


A district attorney.


The Attorney General.


If a city attorney, district attorney or Attorney General who regularly appears before the court declines to prosecute a contempt, and the court determines that remedial sanctions would not provide an effective alternative remedy, the court may appoint an attorney who is authorized to practice law in this state, and who is not counsel for an interested party, to prosecute the contempt. The court shall allow reasonable compensation for the appointed attorney’s attendance, to be paid by:


The Oregon Department of Administrative Services, if the attorney is appointed by the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or the Oregon Tax Court;


The city where the court is located, if the attorney is appointed by a municipal court; and


The county where the prosecution is initiated, in all other cases.


The prosecutor may initiate proceedings on the prosecutor’s own initiative, on the request of a party to an action or proceeding or on the request of the court. After the prosecutor files an accusatory instrument, the court may issue any order or warrant necessary to compel the appearance of the defendant.


Except as otherwise provided by this section, the accusatory instrument is subject to the same requirements and laws applicable to an accusatory instrument in a criminal proceeding, and all proceedings on the accusatory instrument shall be in the manner prescribed for criminal proceedings.


Except for the right to a jury trial, the defendant is entitled to the constitutional and statutory protections, including the right to appointed counsel, that a defendant would be entitled to in a criminal proceeding in which the fine or term of imprisonment that could be imposed is equivalent to the punitive sanctions sought in the contempt proceeding. This subsection does not affect any right to a jury that may otherwise be created by statute.


Inability to comply with an order of the court is an affirmative defense. If the defendant proposes to rely in any way on evidence of inability to comply with an order of the court, the defendant shall, not less than five days before the trial of the cause, file and serve upon the city attorney, district attorney or Attorney General prosecuting the contempt a written notice of intent to offer that evidence. If the defendant fails to file and serve the notice, the defendant shall not be permitted to introduce evidence of inability to comply with an order of the court at the trial of the cause unless the court, in its discretion, permits such evidence to be introduced where just cause for failure to file the notice, or to file the notice within the time allowed, is made to appear.


The court may impose a remedial sanction in addition to or in lieu of a punitive sanction.


In any proceeding for imposition of a punitive sanction, proof of contempt shall be beyond a reasonable doubt. [1991 c.724 §6; 2001 c.962 §78]

Source: Section 33.065 — Procedure for imposition of punitive sanctions, https://www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/bills_laws/ors/ors033.­html.

Notes of Decisions

Private party may not seek imposition of punitive sanctions. Dahlem and Dahlem, 117 Or App 343, 844 P2d 208 (1992)

Process set forth under this section for imposing punitive sanctions for contempt of court under ORS 33.015 supports qualification of judgment of contempt as “conviction” under Immigration and Nationality Act. Diaz-Quirazco v. Barr, 931 F3d 830 (9th Cir. 2019)

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