Contempt for Violating Custody Orders In Texas

The issue in United States v. Dixon, 509 U.S. 688, 125 L. Ed. 2d 556, 113 S. Ct. 2849 (1993) was "whether prosecution for criminal contempt based on violation of a criminal law incorporated into a court order bars a subsequent prosecution for the criminal offense." See Dixon, 509 U.S. at 695. The court answered in the affirmative. See id. at 696. Ex parte Rhodes, 974 S.W.2d 735, 738 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998), applying Dixon, held that a prosecution for interference with child custody was jeopardy barred because the defendant had previously been held in criminal contempt for the same conduct. See Rhodes, 974 S.W.2d at 742. As the name implies, the purpose of a protective order is to protect against future acts of family violence. Although a finding that family violence has occurred is a condition precedent to the issuance of a protective order, such a finding is not alone sufficient. Instead, the court must also find that family violence is likely to occur in the future. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. 81.001 (West Supp. 2000) ("A court shall render a protective order . . . if the court finds that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future."). If such a finding is made, the court is then authorized to issue an order designed to prevent future violence. See id. 85.021, .022.