Ex Parte Hudgings - 249 U.S. 378 (1919)


U.S. Supreme Court

Ex Parte Hudgings, 249 U.S. 378 (1919)

Ex Parte Hudgings

No. 27, Original

Argued December 9, 1918

Decided April 14, 1919

249 U.S. 378

Syllabus

The basis of the power of the federal courts to punish summarily for contempt committed in their presence is to secure them from obstruction in the performance of their judicial duties, and, to justify exertion of this power, the element of obstruction must clearly appear. P. 249 U. S. 383.

Because perjury is punishable as a criminal offense is no reason why it may not also afford basis for punishment as a contempt. P. 249 U. S. 382.

Page 249 U. S. 379

Perjury in facie curiae is not of itself punishable as contempt apart from its obstructive tendency. P. 249 U. S. 383.

Hence, a district court has no power to adjudge a witness guilty of contempt solely because, in the court's opinion, he is willfully refusing to testify truthfully, and to confine him until he shall purge himself by giving testimony which the court deems truthful. P. 249 U. S. 384.

In such a case, held that the original jurisdiction of this Court in habeas corpus was properly invoked. Id.

Petitioner discharged.

The case is stated in the opinion.



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