Meyers v. Hon. Bruce Petrie (KY) DVO Contempt Counseling

Meyers v. Hon. Bruce Petrie, 233 S.W.3d 212 (Ky. App. 2007)

Family court judge held Meyers in contempt for not completing domestic violence counseling, which was ordered by the court. As punishment for this contempt the judge ordered Meyers to attend the same counseling. Meyers argued that because the DVO, under which the counseling had been ordered, had expired the family court lacked jurisdiction to require him to attend the counseling.
CA held that it was not an abuse of discretion for the family court to order Meyers to attend counseling after the DVO had expired. CA reasoned that the family court was not attempting to enforce the DVO after it expired but was exercising its contempt powers. CA opined that “courts of this Commonwealth have inherent powers to punish individuals for contempt.” CA acknowledged that it may be a little unorthodox to order some one to attend counseling as punishment for contempt. However, the court stated that when punishing a contemptuous individual the “punishment should be reasonably related to the nature and seriousness of the party’s contemptuous behavior.” Therefore, sentencing Meyers to attend counseling as punishment for his contempt was appropriate.
Digested by Linda Dixon Bullock, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates