State v. Jones, Minn.S.Ct., 8/26/2015. Remember the business up in Crookston where the state was charging probation violators with contempt of court? Refresh your memory here. Justice Lillehaug affirms the opinion of the court of appeals that dismissed the contempt of court charge:
Interpreting both the contempt and probation statutes, we hold that a willful violation of a “term” of probation prescribed at sentencing does not itself constitute the crime of violation of a “mandate of a court” under the criminal contempt statute.
The state brought contempt of court charges under Minn.Stat. 588.20, Subd. 2(4) which prohibits "wilful disobedience to the lawful process or other mandate of a court." The question for the court to answer was whether a term of probation, itself, was an "other mandate of a court." A "mandate," the court concludes, is at least a court order commanding compliance with a direction of the court. Whether a probation "term" itself is a "mandate" is ambiguous. The court resolves this ambiguity by observing that the probation statutes nowhere provide or even hint that a wilful violation of a term of probation is criminal contempt.