Mystery man in jail for weeks

This fellow has been locked in a Utah jail for more than three weeks on misdemeanors because he refuses to give his name. He was arrested after refusing to leave a Provo, Utah police parking garage where he was allegedly peeking into city vehicles. His jailers say he's very polite but just ain't talkin. From the AP:
Aleqm5Irqakxoubpzetucdikzaffjss9Ra The man faces three misdemeanor charges of interfering with an investigation, failure to provide information to a police officer and criminal trespass. He's been ordered held on $1,200 cash bond.

He had no wallet when arrested, and Harris doesn't think the man can pay his bond.

Meantime, the man sits in jail, practically silent, save for a few brief conversations with Harris and a deputy who have been trying to get him to talk. Authorities ran the man's fingerprints through a state database but came up with nothing. They planned to submit them to an FBI database Tuesday.

"The only thing that I can even elicit from him is he said that at some point in time, he would need to get out," Harris said. "That's the only thing he's given us. Whatever that means, I don't know..." "Maybe he just wanted to escape something. Perhaps he had a blowout with his family," (Lt. Dennis) Harris said. "Maybe he just told the whole world to go to hell."

"Mystery inmate in Utah refuses to reveal name"


  1. Maybe the guy who robbed the bank so he could go to jail and get medical coverage should have tried this tactic.  The bank robber was released almost immediately.

    1. Trespassing in the police parking structure, I reckon.  Gotta be more than one “Keep Out” sign.

  2. or maybe it’s just a power struggle the Utah police are determined to win.  The guy didn’t break any law and he’s essentially being held for not giving his name.  

    1. “He was arrested after refusing to leave a Provo, Utah police parking garage”

      Trespassing is breaking a law, especially if the property owner asks you to leave and you refuse, at which point it ceases to even be arguable whether you intended to trespass.
      Why are people making comments like this? Did you guys just skim the post and fill in any blanks with your preconceptions? That’s not an awfully good way to join a discussion.

      1. Trespassing is breaking a law, especially if the property owner asks you to leave and you refuse

        Except that he was “trespassing” on public property. Of course, you can’t “trespass” at the White House either. But that’s the weird duality of our government who often is at arm’s length with the people it is supposed to serve. Wasn’t always that way; in the 18th and 19th centuries any old Henry McFibberwibble could waltz into the White House and speak his mind.

        1. Arguably, a parking garage, though ‘public property’, is pretty much excluded from the list of places you can hang out.  Same would probably go for the interrogation rooms, the cells, and pretty much the whole place.  City Hall is also a public building, but they don’t let you into anyone’s office whenever you want, nor the cleaning closets.

          But to the point at hand, they can’t let him out, because he can’t pay his bail.  I don’t know if anyone tried to bail him out and were denied because there was no name.  That would be interesting to find out what would have happened had someone paid his bail.  I would hope that this could be a speedy trial, since the charges can’t really warrant much time.  I do realize that he has now been named… the previous was based on his previous status of unknown.

  3. This brings to mind some old lyrics from punk rock legends, Crass:

    “If you don’t like the rules they make, refuse to play their game
    If you don’t want to be a number, don’t give them your name
    If you don’t want to be caught out, refuse to hear their question
    Silence is a virtue, use it for your own protection”

  4. three weeks on a misdemeanor. Could ID-ing oneself be a fifth amendment incrimination? Is he being considered guilty of something else (which the police have no clue of)? Is that an assumption of guilt instead of innocence? Does it take three weeks to run finger prints through the FBI? Does he have a court date for the misdemeanor charges yet? Ie is this quick and speedy in the trial aspect? Can they hold him indefinitely if they don’t know who he is? 

    It is interesting that he is being held for looking in cop cars and not leaving when the cops asked him to. So two of the charges are based purely upon his not Identifying himself while the third would not be there if he had left the garage like he was originally told.

  5. The legal justification for his detention sounds pretty thin but I get why the cops are afraid to let him go. If they let him walk and he turns out to be a wanted felon they’ll never hear the end of it.

  6. Why do they need to know who he is? Just charge him as Anonymous for whatever they arrested him for, and include the weeks he’s been held in the sentence.

    They have his prints on file now, if he gets picked up again they’ll be able to link him to his record (and possibly his ID if he happens to have it on him next time).

  7. So that whole “right to remain silent” bit is a crock of poo?

    My guess is that he’s Bartleby, the Scrivener

    1. Seriously? Phillip T. Beavers? Does he have a brother named Igor and a cousin Jacques Strap?

  8. Could be they’re using whatever version of Utah’s vagrancy laws might still be on the books.  I understand they seem to have identified him now, but before that point if he refused to identify himself, and did not demonstrate that he has either a home or an income of some sort, then he could conceivably be prosecuted for vagrancy.

    It seems to me that this isn’t a brand-new result of our ever-growing police state.  As much as we’ve become accustomed to the idea that here in America you don’t necessarily need to have all your papers in order and on your person at all times to pass unmolested by Johnny Law, vagrancy laws were much more vague and police authority to round you up just for looking suspicious was more untrammeled before the 1960s.  Now, of course, our fear is that an unidentifiable miscreant (whether or not he’s had a chance to miscreate anything yet) is potentially a terrorist, sex offender, or potentially violently mentally ill guy.  And of course those types of people never have their ID handy.

    One of these days, I’ll probably get busted for  “failure to provide information to a police officer” myself.  Whatever.  They’re already guilty of failure to provide the law enforcement service for which my tax dollars are supposed to pay.

  9. I realize he hasn’t asked for representation, but it seems to me that an advocate charged with defending his interests could get him to open up a bit.

    He might just be a frightened old man, confused by early-onset Alzheimer’s, but not debilitated enough that he doesn’t cover up and hide his symptoms.

  10. I read something on BBC about a month ago about a man in the UK who’s been in the pokey for several months while the police continue investigating. But the crime that they’re trying to nail him for doesn’t even carry jail time.

    1. Very informative video, thanks for posting that.

      With the number of laws and precedents on the book, it very much appears that all you have to do is either piss off someone in the criminal justice industry (what else should we call it?) and then be the last place the system looks to pin whatever on you. 

      It appears that there is no way to avoid getting mashed by the jaws of the legal machine, other that staying completely out of its way. Which then puts it down to chance, probably much higher in probability than getting hit by lightening.

      Interesting how only the lawyers can’t lose.

  11. I think some commenters here are missing the fact that the man was not detained for lack of ID but for trespassing. The man was detained after he failed to follow the lawful requests of a police officer, e.g. to leave the police parking garage. I bet the man still could have gotten away without giving his ID if he has just left the garage when he was told. His failure to comply obviously raised the suspicions of the police, “what business are you attending to?”. 

    This case is more about the fact he continued to trespass when told to leave the premises. The ID charge is the secondary charge occuring only after the man failed to comply with the orginal request.

    1. Goblin, I’m missing the problem here. They try him, or they let him go. That should be all there is to it. The man should have a right to a speedy trial, end of story. If they can’t bring themselves to do that, they should let him go. They didn’t seem to need to know who he was to arrest him–why do they need to know who he is to try him? Does that have some bearing on whether he’s guilty or not?

  12. It’s summer in Utah, jail is air-conditioned, they serve 3 meals a day, comfy cot to sleep on. Better than the Jesus house if you ask me.

  13. Clearly he’s a time traveler – speed of light confirmed in Hong Kong indeed.
    Balderdash, I say!

  14. Hell, *I’m* tellin’ the whole world to go to Hell.  Go to Hell, world.  You’re already there, but GO TO HELL.

    (Damn that felt good!)

  15. So he’s in the pokey for his misdemeanors. Does anyone have any idea as to how long a sentence these charges carry? Will he get out in due time,or are the police legally justified to hold him as long as they want?

    I can understand having a name and a social security number, but I also think “the system” finds it terribly convenient to be able to identify someone, because then it’s easy to hang a label on them. Makes it easier for those who want power to distinguish between “us” and “them”.

  16. Ungh, things sure are going sideways in the ‘good ole’ USA. It just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it?

  17. 1 charge for criminal trespass of a public building
    1 charge of interfering with an investigation
    1 failure to provide information to a police officer
    The first one is questionable. The latter two tell me that exercising my Fifth Amendment rights can get me charged with a crime.
    The Supreme Court has held that “a witness may have a reasonable fear of
    prosecution and yet be innocent of any wrongdoing. The privilege serves
    to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous
    I’m thinking walking around a public building, looking into cars, and being charged with CRIMINAL trespass sounds like being ensnared by ambiguous
    circumstances. Oddly enough, his story does not fit the test for criminal trespass in Utah
    It has been 26 days since his arrest. I think the city of Utah could have managed to get a trial together by now.

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