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Before Boudin, Lipez and Howard, Circuit Judges.

This appeal presents the question whether, in order to make the federal sanction effective, a federal district court can suspend the running of a prisoner’s state sentence while the prisoner is temporarily confined for federal civil contempt. The appellant, whom we will call John Doe, has been serving a state prison sentence set to expire several years from now. Last year, he was brought before a federal grand jury by writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum, granted statutory use immunity, see 18 U.S.C. §§ 6002-6003 (2006), and ordered to testify.

Despite warnings and threatened contempt, Doe refused to testify and was eventually found in civil contempt and placed in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service “until such time as [he] shall obey” the court’s earlier orders to testify, the incarceration not to exceed eighteen months or the end of the grand jury, whichever occurs first. See 28 U.S.C. § 1826(a) (2006). Thereafter, at the government’s request, the district court amended the contempt order to provide that the federal contempt confinement shall interrupt the service of the sentence imposed on [Doe] by the [state court], which sentence shall not continue to run during the period that [Doe] is being held in civil contempt confinement, and the sentence imposed on [Doe] by the [state court] shall not be considered concurrent herewith; rather, that sentence imposed on [Doe] by the [state court] shall resume when, and only when, this civil contempt confinement of [Doe] pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1826(a) has terminated.

 
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