Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers head avoids jail for eating anonymous tip in court
The head of the Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers program avoided jail time in a court hearing on Thursday, and was instead ordered to write a report on laws concerning anonymous tips.
WFOR-TV reported that Richard Masten has 30 days to turn his report in to Circuit Court Judge Victoria Brennan after accepting a contempt of court judge for refusing to give Brennan a memo concerning a tip in a cocaine possession case last week.
Instead, Masten ate the piece of paper containing the tip, saying at the time that disclosing the information — even without identifying the source — would put his program on a “slippery slope.”
On Thursday, Brennnan countered that anonymous tips are turned over to prosecutors on a regular basis so that they can be confirmed. Masten conceded that he had emailed his tip to the prosecution before his disagreement with Brennan.
“You made that tip part of the public record, yet you’re sitting here espousing your concern for the content of the tip,” Brennan said.
Masten, who was in danger of facing two weeks in jail, told reporters after the hearing that he would repeat his behavior last week if he had to in order to protect a source.
“It’s not a public record, whether it comes from an email, pony express, smoke signal or whatever it is,” he was quoted as saying. “It’s not public record, and we’re not gonna give it up.”
Watch WFOR’s report on Masten’s hearing, as aired on Thursday, below.