“So there’s no specific instrument designed to detect life, but if something crawled out from under a rock and climbed on the back of the thing, you wouldn’t need the lab experiment to determine that’s like yup, that’s life.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson, commenting on Mars rover Curiosity
Contempt of court is like life on Mars. The search for it falls into two general categories: direct and indirect. Direct contempt is when its beady little eyes stare a judge right in the face and announce itself. Indirect contempt is when traces of it call for a more deliberate analysis. The statutory underpinnings of civil contempt dwell in Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §§1209 to 1222, which also provide the “specific instruments” to analyze the issue of indirect contempt.