|Richard Masten of a local Florida Crime Stoppers|
chapter in Florida in court, snacking on a crime
tip so that the judge wouldn't learn the identity of
an anonymous tipster.
And the idea makes a lot of sense. There might be people in a situation in which they know about a crime and want to report it, but are too fearful of what might happen if they end up having to testify in open court.
After all, court proceedings are usually open to the public, so it would be easy for a jerk to retaliate against somebody who offered evidence of a crime.
You can't use information from an anonymous source in court, but at least a Crime Stoppers tip can point police in the right direction, so they can eventually nab the bad guy or girl.
However, sometimes this gets complicated, like the recent incident in Florida where the local Crime Stoppers guy, named Richard Masten had a tip he received.
A judge ordered Masten to hand it over.
The paper that had the information didn't include the tipster, but Masten thought there was enough information for someone to deduce the identity of the tipster.
So, instead of turning the paper in to the court, he ate it, so nobody could look at it.
According to the Miami Herald:
"For disobeying the order - even as he chewed up potential evidence - Richard Masten was found in contempt of court Friday by Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Victoria R. Brenna. He has until next Thursday to turn over the information, or turn himself in and serve a 14-day sentence. He was fined $500.
That might be the least painful part of the whole thing. I imagine eating all that paper gave Masten a wicked stomach ache.
The best part of this whole episode is the video of Masten eating the paperwork in court. It looks like he's watching a ballgame on TV and munching on not-very-good potato chips.
It really is a sight to behold. Watch: