Miami Crimestoppers head eats a tip rather than hand it over to defense lawyer

Richard Masten is the executive director of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, a service that promises anonymity to the people who send in tips on serious crimes. So when a judge ordered him to hand over a tip -- with potentially identifying information -- to a defendant's lawyer, he ate it.

As Lowering the Bar points out, this is probably more of a symbolic gesture than a real defense of his source's anonymity, since there's likely a file-copy at Crimestoppers itself. Masten is going back to court this week to receive a punishment from the judge: "I'll bring a toothbrush and some pajamas."

"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," [Masten] said. "The case today started creeping into that... it’s not going to happen on my watch and I understood the consequences."

"Bound by Honor to Defy a Judge ... and Eat a Document"

Notable Replies

  1. That's one way of demonstrating integrity

  2. I'd sure like to know more about the case. The guy is a retired police chief and in my mind, that means he is most likely corrupt as can be. The crimestoppers program has seen corruption in the past - and in the same county and in my neck of the woods as well.

    Perhaps the judge suspected it was happening again.

  3. For the lazy:

    According to the Complaint, Fortella, an 11-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, was assigned as a detective at the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Unit. In this capacity, Fortella was responsible for taking anonymous tips from citizens regarding crimes that had occurred within Miami-Dade County. Fortella, Burgess, and Stanley allegedly took advantage of Fortella’s position to implement a scheme to fraudulently obtain Crime Stoppers reward payments that had not yet been collected by the actual tipsters.


  4. Pretty much any mobster's attorney, for starters.

  5. This situation wouldn't be much different than a judge compelling a reporter to give up their confidential source, and said reporter choosing to accept the contempt charges. I don't think that qualifies as "injurious to the ultimate goal of the criminal justice system" any more than than spousal privilege or those invoking their rights under the pesky 5th amendment

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