No person shall be imprisoned for debt, unless upon refusal to deliver up his estate for the benefit of his creditors in such manner as shall be prescribed by law, or in cases of tort or where there is a strong presumption of fraud.
Entire article added, effective August 1, 1876, see L. 1877, p. 30.
ANNOTATION Am. Jur.2d. See 16B Am. Jur.2d, Constitutional Law, §§ 627-633. C.J.S. See 16A C.J.S., Constitutional Law, §§ 710, 711, 715. The constitutional provision of this section is clear and unambiguous; it prohibits imprisonment for debt in the absence of evidence bringing the case within specific exceptions. Trujillo v. People, 158 Colo. 362, 407 P.2d 36 (1965). This section does not prohibit punishment of a contempt in refusing to obey lawful orders or decrees, and a commitment for contempt of a husband for refusing to pay a judgment for separate maintenance of his wife is not an imprisonment for debt. In re Popejoy, 26 Colo. 32, 55 P. 1083 (1899).
This section does not prohibit the punishment of a contempt by imprisonment for refusing to obey the lawful orders or decrees of court, the party not being imprisoned for a debt, but for his refusal to obey the lawful order of the court. Harvey v. Harvey, 153 Colo. 15, 384 P.2d 265 (1963).
A commitment to jail for contempt is justified for failure to pay alimony and attorney's fees in a divorce action, but any commitment for failure of the defendant-husband to pay the plaintiff-wife for money loaned is not justified. Harvey v. Harvey, 153 Colo. 15, 384 P.2d 265 (1963).
A consent judgment to pay moneys owed is purely equitable in nature, not a money judgment, and the prohibitions against imprisonment for debt are inapplicable. One held in civil contempt and imprisoned would not be imprisoned for a debt, but rather for his failure to comply with an order of court. Usery v. Fisher, 565 F.2d 137 (10th Cir. 1977).