After chowing down on written evidence, the executive director of the Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers could wind up in behind bars for two weeks for contempt of court.
Richard Masten, a retired police chief, chewed up and swallowed the notes rather than compromise the identity of a tipster.
The defense lawyer in a cocaine possession case wanted information about the tip in question. Judge Victoria R. Brennan asked to review the info in chambers (i.e. in her office rather than in open court), but told Masten that she couldn’t guarantee that it would never be turned over to the defense eventually. While Brennan was out of the courtroom, Masten chewed and swallowed the piece of paper instead (see embed below). Judge Brennan then charged the leader of the nonprofit tip line in contempt of court. Masten is due back before the judge on Thursday at which time he could be thrown in jail for 14 days and fined $500.
Apparently the name of the informant is not listed on the paper that Masten ate, but it’s possible that the suspect could figure out who it was based on the narrative.
Said Masten, the former Miami Shores chief, “We promise the people who give us information to solve murders, serious violent crimes in this community, that they can call with an assurance that they will remain anonymous and that nothing about them or their information would ever be compromised. The case today started creeping into that… it’s not going to happen on my watch and I understood the consequences.”
Added Masten, “I make a promise to tipsters out there. It isn’t going to happen on my watch. If you want to put me in jail, fine.” He quipped that he is bringing a toothbrush and pajamas to court on Thursday just in case.
Watch Crime Stoppers director Richard Masten snack on evidence in court to protect the identity of a tipster: