(a) Order of court
If any person summoned under section 1509 of this title does not comply with the summons, the district court of the United States for any district in which such person is found or resides or is doing business, upon application and after notice to any such person and hearing, shall have jurisdiction to issue an order requiring such person to comply with the summons. Failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof and such court may assess a monetary penalty.

(b) Sanctions

(1) For so long as any person, after being adjudged guilty of contempt for neglecting or refusing to obey a lawful summons issued under section 1509 of this title and for refusing to obey the order of the court, remains in contempt, the Secretary may—

(A) prohibit that person from importing merchandise into the customs territory of the United States directly or indirectly or for his account, and

(B) instruct the appropriate customs officers to withhold delivery of merchandise imported directly or indirectly by that person or for his account.

(2) If any person remains in contempt for more than one year after the date on which the Secretary issues instructions under paragraph (1)(B) with respect to that person, the appropriate customs officers shall cause all merchandise held in customs custody pursuant to such instructions to be sold at public auction or otherwise disposed of under the customs laws.

(3) The sanctions which may be imposed under paragraphs (1) and (2) are in addition to any punishment which may be imposed by the court for contempt.

Prior Provisions

Provisions substantially the same as those in this section were contained in act Oct. 3, 1913, ch. 16, §III, P, 38 Stat. 188, which substantially reenacted the provisions of the Customs Administrative Act of June 10, 1890, ch. 407, §17, 26 Stat. 139, as renumbered and reenacted without other change by the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act of Aug. 5, 1909, ch. 6, §23, 36 Stat. 100. Section III, P, of the 1913 act was superseded by act Sept. 21, 1922, ch. 356, title IV, §509, 42 Stat. 968, and repealed by section 643 thereof. Section 509 of the 1922 act was superseded by section 510 of act June 17, 1930, comprising this section, and repealed by section 651(a)(1) of the 1930 act.

Prior provisions similar to those in this section were contained in R.S. §§2923, 2924, prior to repeal by section 29 of the Customs Administrative Act of June 10, 1890, 26 Stat. 141.


1993—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–182 inserted before period at end "and such court may assess a monetary penalty".

1978—Pub. L. 95–410 substituted judicial enforcement provisions covering court order for compliance with administrative summonses and imposition of specified sanctions for prior provisions covering imposition of penalties for refusal to give testimony, including provision for a penalty of not less than $20 nor more than $500 for refusing to appear or to produce documents or to subscribe his name to a deposition or refusing to answer interrogatories; deeming the last made appraisement of the merchandise as final where an owner, importer, or consignee failed to comply with the examination provisions; deeming the person falsely swearing on an examination guilty of perjury; and forfeiture of the merchandise where the person was an owner, importer, or consignee, or the recovery of its value from him.

1970—Pub. L. 91–271 substituted references to appropriate customs officer for references to collector or appraiser wherever appearing, and struck out references to divisions of United States Customs Court.

Effective Date of 1970 Amendment

For effective date of amendment by Pub. L. 91–271, see section 203 of Pub. L. 91–271, set out as a note under section 1500 of this title.

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