18 U.S.C.S. § 401(3) permits punishment for the disobedience or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command. Codifying that which was implicit, 18 U.S.C.S. § 401(3) made the violation of a court order a punishable infraction.
The United States sought a permanent injunction to prohibit defendant from engaging in activities that frustrate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in its enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code. The district court entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting defendant from "[p]reparing or assisting in the preparation of correspondence to the IRS on behalf of any other person or entity." The defendant was then charged with violating the preliminary injunction. Defendant moved to quash an indictment, arguing, among other things, that the indictment did not allege facts showing the injunction was violated or cite a statute imposing a duty which he violated. The district court denied the motion.
Was the indictment charging defendant with violating a preliminary injunction an indictment that charged an offence?
The indictment charged defendant with violating a court order by preparing or assisting others in the preparation of correspondence to the IRS. That language tracked, almost verbatim, the wording used in the preliminary injunction that prohibited defendant from, "[p]reparing or assisting in the preparation of correspondence to the IRS on behalf of any other person or entity." As such, the indictment specifically charged defendant with engaging in an activity explicitly enjoined by the preliminary injunction and thus violating a court order. Accordingly, the indictment properly charged an offense.