The power of any court of this state to punish for contempt shall not be construed to extend to any case except the:
a. Misbehavior of any person in the actual presence of the court;
b. Misbehavior of any officer of the court in his official transactions; and
c. Disobedience or resistance by any court officer, or by any party, juror, witness or any person whatsoever to any lawful writ, process, judgment, order, or command of the court.
Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to affect the inherent jurisdiction of the superior court to punish for contempt.
2A:10-7. Contempt in municipal courts 2A:10-7. The municipal courts in this State shall have full power to punish for contempt in any case provided by N.J.S.2A:10-1.
Court Rule 1:10-1. Summary Contempt in Presence of Court
A judge conducting a judicial proceeding may adjudicate contempt summarily without an order to show cause if:
(a) the conduct has obstructed, or if continued would obstruct, the proceeding;
(b) the conduct occurred in the actual presence of the judge, and was actually seen or heard by the judge;
(c) the character of the conduct or its continuation after an appropriate warning unmistakably demonstrates its willfulness;
(d) immediate adjudication is necessary to permit the proceeding to continue in an orderly and proper manner; and
(e) the judge has afforded the alleged contemnor an immediate opportunity to respond.
Note: Directive #8-99
The significant changes to Rule 1:10-1 were the result of a report by a special Summary Contempt Subcommittee of the Civil Practice Committee. That Committee=s recommendations to the Supreme Court and the Court=s adoption of those recommendations make it abundantly clear that it is inappropriate for judges to use the summary contempt power when confronted by offensive comments written in letters, on checks, or on envelopes. If threatening language is used in a written communication, the court should follow the established policy contained in the 1988 Guidelines on Threats to Members of the Judiciary,@ (copy attached) rather than resorting to the use of Rule 1:10-1. (For a discussion of the Supreme Court=s concerns that pre-dated the Committee=s Report, see Matter of Daniels, 118 N.J. 51, 60 (1990).)
Courts and court staff are obliged to process written communications, including negotiable instruments, from litigants who gratuitously include profane and scurrilous comments. This does not mean that such submissions need always go unremarked. In an egregious case, a carefully measured written response may be made. The content of such a response cannot, however, implicate the powers provided under Rule 1:10-1.
Court Rule 1:2-4. Sanctions: Failure to Appear; Motions and Briefs
(a) Failure to Appear. If without just excuse or because of failure to give reasonable attention to the matter, no appearance is made on behalf of a party on the call of a calendar, on the return of a motion, at a pretrial conference, settlement conference, or any other proceeding scheduled by the court, or on the day of trial, or if an application is made for an adjournment, the court may order any one or more of the following: (a) the payment by the delinquent attorney or party or by the party applying for the adjournment of costs, in such amount as the court shall fix, to the Clerk of the Court made payable to Treasurer, State of New Jersey, or to the adverse party; (b) the payment by the delinquent attorney or party or the party applying for the adjournment of the reasonable expenses, including attorneys fees, to the aggrieved party; (c) the dismissal of the complaint, cross-claim, counterclaim or motion, or the striking of the answer and the entry of judgment by default, or the granting of the motion; or (d) such other action as it deems appropriate.
(b) Motions; Briefs. For failure to comply with the requirements of R. 1:6-3, 1:6-4 and 1:6-5 for filing motion papers and briefs and for failure to submit a required brief, the court may dismiss or grant the motion or application, continue the hearing to the next motion day or take such other action as it deems appropriate. If the hearing is continued, the court may impose sanctions as provided by paragraph (a) of this rule.