Writing that the trial court failed to consider the contempt element of “willfulness,” a Florida appeals court has reversed a contempt order handed down against the state’s Department of Children and Families after the department failed to take a criminal defendant into custody and transfer him to a mental health treatment facility.

“A party cannot be held in civil contempt if it lacks the ability to comply,” wrote the First District Court of Appeal in a decision that reversed a contempt order the court said had “characteristics of both civil and criminal contempt sanctions.”

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