In the U.S., a common course of action is that a peace officer makes an arrest on an alleged violation of law, which is then heard by a magistrate/court. How is the process different if a court witnesses a violation of law? Let's consider an example:

A man is in the courtroom and batters another citizen in the room, observed by the judge.

Is this man charged by the peace officers in the courtroom, or the judge? If the man is directly charged by the judge, is there then a separate hearing where the judge appears as a witness? Lastly, in the case of a Contempt of Court charge, is this charge applied by law enforcement or the court itself? Does it have a separate hearing or does the judge have the ability to perform a direct sentence since the law violation occurred in his/her presence?

  • The officers or the judge don't charge anybody. The officers can arrest, but the district attorney would bring charges just like any other criminal act. Are you asking about just criminal acts, or any court offense? Contempt of court is a different subject so I'm not sure why you asked about that?
    – Ron Beyer
    Jan 3, 2020 at 5:09

1 Answer 1


Not at all

Well, except that a contempt of court charge would also apply.

The bailiff would make an arrest and transfer custody to the police who would follow their normal process. Witnesses would be interviewed and ultimately testify. The judge , as a witness would not be able to hear the case so it would be brought before another judge.

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