We have this confirmed from two separate sources.
Brennan suffered through a minor scandal this summer involving her actions in a personal matter in the Keys.
There are second acts in America, and Judge Brennan will certainly find her footing and re-emerge, as either the superb lawyer she once was, or in some other form of public service.
We are all human and we all make mistakes, and none of those things detract from our fundamental worth and value to ourselves, our family, and our community. Sometimes Judges and prosecutors lose sight of this. Only age and experience can allow someone to view an individual’s actions through the lens of time.
– Monday, August 15, 2016 –
Update: Take our new Judge Brennan poll.
Source: JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
On video: Former police chief eats evidence to protect tip
The head of Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers had been uncompromising since early December, when a judge ordered him to turn over some evidence. So uncompromising that he made a meal of evidence.
But first some background: A defense attorney in Miami had wanted to read the tip given to Crime Stoppers that led to his client’s arrest on suspicion of cocaine possession.
The Crime Stoppers’ boss, a former police chief, finally decided to follow a court order and brought in a printout of the anonymous tip last week. But after chatting with the judge, Richard Masten refused to hand over the tip because the judge said she might give it to the lawyer.
Judge Victoria Brennan, later writing that the court couldn’t “turn a blind eye to a flagrant refusal to honor a court order,” held Masten in direct criminal contempt.
While those in the courtroom watched, Masten ripped apart the printout of the tip and started chowing down on the paper. Then swallowed.
“I ate the pertinent information,” Masten told the Los Angeles Times by phone Wednesday.
“I thought I was going to be booked right there, and I expected all of my property to be taken away,” he said. “I didn’t want to throw it into the garbage 3 or 4 feet away because I knew there would be a scramble to the garbage can. That’s why I did something overt.”
The judge agreed to give Masten a week to get his affairs in order. He is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday and faces the possibility of two weeks in jail in addition to a $500 fine.
“We hope the judge would have a change of heart,” Masten said. “Realistically, I expect to go to jail.”
Although the defense attorney had been seeking only the content of the tip and not information about the tipster, Masten said he didn’t feel comfortable providing anything that might tamper with Crime Stoppers’ assurance that tips remain anonymous.
“There’s nothing unique about this or myself,” Masten said. “Any director or coordinator of an organization like this could be confronted with this and I would expect them to do the same thing.”
Crime Stoppers serves as an intermediary between law enforcement and the public, collecting tips and doling out rewards for information that leads to arrests and convictions.
The case that precipitated Masten’s situation involved a 45-year-old woman arrested after police received a tip that she was a cocaine dealer. Police found a baggie of suspected cocaine in her purse, the Miami Herald reported.
To protect the identity of an anonymous tipster, the head of a Florida Crime Stoppers group ate a sheet of paper rather than give it to a judge who demanded it.
Richard Masten, the executive director of Miami-Dade’s Crime Stoppers hotline, was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in jail for contempt for swallowing the paper related to a cocaine possession case, the Miami Herald reports.
“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, according to NBC Miami.
“The case today started creeping into that… it’s not going to happen on my watch and I understood the consequences.”
The contested sheet of paper didn’t contain the hotline caller’s name, but Masten believed there were enough details that the whistleblower’s identity could be deduced.
He chewed on shreds of paper with his mouth in front of cameras before the judge entered the courtroom.
“I think your client’s very passionate,“ Judge Victoria Brennan told Masten’s attorney, according to WPLG-TV. “But I think sometimes passion can cloud judgment.”
A lawyer for the drug suspect said he wasn’t interested in learning the tipster’s name.
On top of the jail time, Masten was fined $500. He must turn himself in by Thursdayor provide the information demanded in court, Reuters reports.