By Charles Rabin, crabin@MiamiHerald.com
Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers director Richard Masten was found guilty of contempt Thursday but will not go to jail. And if he studies the contempt law and reports back to the court he will only have to serve some type of probation, a judge said Thursday.
Masten was in Miami-Dade Circuit Court facing contempt charges a week after he theatrically ate a piece of paper alleged to have information about a crime on it, that Judge Victoria Brennan ordered be handed over to the court.
Masten and his attorney were pondering the judge's order Thursday morning, after Brennan granted Attorney Ed O'Donnell the right to view the transcripts of last weeks court hearing, before his client accepts the offer.
O'Donnell was called into the case late and missed most of last week' hearing.
Masten got into trouble with the court during a relatively benign cocaine possession trial, in which a Hialeah woman was charged after someone relayed a tip to Crime Stoppers.
Her attorney requested the information passed on to Crime Stoppers. Masten refused.
Here is an earlier background story:
The head of Miami-Dade County's Crime Stoppers program could get jail time for contempt of court over his refusal to divulge details about an anonymous tip.
A hearing is set Thursday morning for Richard Masten, the program's executive director. Circuit Judge Victoria Brennan last week ordered Masten to provide information about the tip to a defense attorney in a cocaine possession case, setting a deadline for Thursday.
Masten last week ate a piece of paper in court with the information on it rather than give it up. Masten, a former police chief, says the integrity of the anonymous tip program is at stake.
A defense lawyer says only information about the tip is important, not the tipster's identity.
Masten says in 20 years Crime Stoppers has helped solve some 34,000 crimes.
-- ASSOCIATED PRESS