The New Jersey Appellate Division issued a published opinion on November 9, 2015 concerning contempt proceedings under R. 1:10-2 in a pending divorce matter, where it was alleged that one of the parties ignored a prior Order of the Court and threatened or intimidated a custody expert.  In Ippolito v. Ippolitio, the Appellate Division found that it was improper for the trial court judge who initiated the summary contempt proceeding to also preside over it, in order to limit the risk for arbitrariness.  The trial court judge further erred in shifting the burden of persuasion to the defendant.  Specifically, the Court determined that, in a civil contempt proceeding, a defendant is entitled to  "the presumption of innocence, the privilege against self-incrimination, the right of cross-examination, proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and the admissibility of evidence in accordance with the rules of evidence."  Determining that the "appearance of objectivity" required trial by another judge, the Appellate Division vacated the order under review and remanded the contempt proceeding to the assignment judge for the designation of another judge to preside over the summary contempt proceeding.

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