Order Directing to Bring Child to Court

In King v. Department of Social and Health Serv., 110 Wash.2d 793, 756 P.2d 1303 (1988) a children's welfare agency obtained an order directing parents to bring their child to court after receipt of abuse allegations. the child was not produced, and the parents were incarcerated. The mother was released after a finding that she had no information as to the child's whereabouts, but the father remained confined for over a year because of his refusal to disclose the child's location. The Court of Appeals held that the coercive aspect of the order had become secondary to the punitive nature of the father's confinement and ordered his release. The Supreme Court of Washington reversed, holding that the mere passage of time did not convert coercive restraint to punitive contempt and further stated: In deciding whether a contemnor's incarceration should continue, the trial court should also consider the significance of the ends to be achieved. It is appropriate for the court to balance its interests in enforcing compliance with a particular order a contemnor's liberty.