FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04DR-14-435],
HONORABLE BRAD KARREN, JUDGE
Aaron Grady, for appellant.
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Vada Berger, Asst Atty Gen., for
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.
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 courts 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.
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
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. DAMRONS COUNSEL: And, Your Honor, since there are, I
believe, eight counts, correct me if Im 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. DAMRONS 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, you, of course, have the
authorization to exceed that. We would like to ask for a