In the September 2021 term of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the court ruled that a person that was found in civil contempt must satisfy certain basic requirements, including that the court order must:
- impose a sanction
- include a purge provision that gives the person in contempt the opportunity to avoid the sanction by taking specific action of which they are capable of purging; and
- be designed to coerce future compliance with a valid legal requirement rather than punish for past completed conduct
Constructive civil contempt is contempt that occurs outside the presence of the judge presiding in court. After the court issues an order, a party may file a Petition for Contempt for a violation of the court order. Civil contempt proceedings are designed to allow private parties to comply with orders and decrees made to benefit parties. The Dodson case advised that "the law concerning contempt is clear, and the purpose of civl contempt is to coerce present or future compliance with a court order, whereas imposing a sanction for past misconduct is the function of criminal contempt."
Court opinion in Breona C v. Rodney D