Crime Stoppers chief faces jail over eating evidence

MIAMI (AP) - 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 said only information about the tip is important, not the tipster's identity.

Masten said in 20 years Crime Stoppers has helped solve some 34,000 crimes.


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