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Damron v. Damron

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I & IV

March 13, 2019

Tina DAMRON, Appellant
v.
Stewart DAMRON, Appellee

          APPEAL FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04DR-14-435], HONORABLE BRAD KARREN, JUDGE

          Misty Aaron Grady, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

         OPINION

         RITA W. GRUBER, Chief Judge

          Appellant Tina Damron appeals from an order of the Benton County Circuit Court finding her guilty on five counts of indirect criminal contempt pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 16-10-108 (Repl. 2010). For her sole point on appeal, Ms. Damron contends that the court erred in failing to grant her a jury trial. We disagree and affirm.

         Tina Damron and Stewart Damron divorced in 2014. The present contempt action arose out of their divorce case. On October 20, 2017, the circuit court ordered Ms. Damron to appear and show cause as to why she should not be held in contempt and incarcerated pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 16-10-108 for failure to comply with the circuit court’s previous orders. The order listed at least eight alleged violations of specific court orders arising from the divorce proceedings, the substance of which are not at issue in this appeal. The show-cause hearing was set for December 7, 2017.

          At the December 7, 2017 hearing, the following colloquy took place:

THE COURT: Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 16-10-108, [Ms. Damron] is on notice as to the citation of contempt in this order dated October 20th as to which orders the Court is wanting to address. She was advised on October

Page 167

20th of her right to counsel, her presumption of innocence, her right against self-incrimination, her right to confront and call witnesses and subpoena witnesses. The standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. And this is pursuant to § 16-10-108, contempt is a Class C misdemeanor. Also under § 5-4-401 with the penalties being anything 30 days or less in the Benton County jail and $ 500 or less in a fine.
MS. DAMRON’S COUNSEL: And, Your Honor, since there are, I believe, eight counts, correct me if I’m wrong, of contempt that puts the maximum punishment range in this case of 240 days, which gets us over the six-month requirement necessary for my client to have a right to trial by jury in this case. We would like to invoke that right.
THE COURT: Denied. Thank you.
MS. DAMRON’S COUNSEL: Your Honor, one final one if I could. This— each one is punishable by up to 30 days but under the inherent powers doctrine,[1] you, of course, have the authorization to exceed that. We would like to ask for a ...

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