Crime Stoppers Representative Proves He is Serious about Client Confidentiality

Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins

A crime stoppers representative is facing a two week prison sentence after displaying some rather unusual courtroom behavior that certainly proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is 100% committed to his job. Richard Masten, a Florida police officer and executive director for the highly popular Crime Stoppers program refused to comply with a Florida judge’s request to reveal a tipster’s information. In a rather bizarre scene, Mr. Masten stood before a jury and a courtroom full of cameras and proceeded to eat and swallow the tipster’s information.

The stunt was not taken lightly by the Florida judge, who claims Masten infringed on the law by concealing a testimony. Meanwhile, the defense laid claim to the idea that the woman on trial could not defend herself without the info. Since Masten has a background in law enforcement, he says he was fully aware of the possible consequences of digesting courtroom evidence, but he wanted tipsters to understand his commitment to their anonymity. He feared that giving up the tipster’s information could serve to hinder the future of crime stoppers due to the fact that anonymous tippers could become more reluctant if they feared their identities would eventually be revealed. Client confidentiality could be utilized as a defense against Mr. Masten’s alleged crime, but the suspect on the other side of the courtroom could use his behavior as her criminal defense as well.

45 year old Lissett Alvarez was standing trial for a 2013 cocaine possession charge stemming from the tip Mr. Masten swallowed. If the tipster’s information was the only useful evidence in the case, Ms. Alvarez’s lawyer, Jean Michel D’Escoubet, could claim that she is now being tried with unsubstantial evidence and the entire case could be thrown out of court.

The anonymous tipping process has been useful in the capturing and confinement of many criminals over the years, but like every system, it is not without its flaws. In the Alvarez and Masten cases, anonymity could be used to help both suspects avoid spending time in prison. It is now clear that Richard Masten is serious about protecting his tipster’s identities, so his courtroom eating habits could lead to bigger arrests in the years to come. As it stands, Lissett Alvarez is facing a maximum five year prison sentence and up to $5,000 in fines. The tip swallowing police officer and crime stopping executive is facing a two week sentence and a $500 fine.

Crime Stoppers USA is responsible for 649,312 arrests. Their tip line has brought in upwards from $4,163,075,455. These tipster testimonials have turned crime stoppers into one of the top national crime prevention programs. Their reputation for identity protection and reward payments is the main reason this company has been functioning successfully since 1976. Regardless to the outcome of the current Alvarez case, this program still boasts a 95% conviction rate. No wonder Richard Masten is willing to put his tipsters’ freedom ahead of his own.