back to article Utah cops baffled in case of mysterious anonymous cuffee

Utah cops are attempting to identify a man who's unnecessarily spent over three weeks in jail on three minor misdemeanor charges because he refuses to reveal his name. The Utah John Doe's mugshot. Pic: Utah County Sherrifs Office The 60-something, "fairly well spoken and educated" John Doe was cuffed on 1 July for " …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Could it be as simple as that he is homeless and the jail/prison is a roof over his head and he gets fed? Probably a better service/deal than a homeless hostel??

    1. Anonymous Coward


      It might be an idea to read the article a second time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Right

        But they don't know for sure he's homeless or not ... they don't know who he is

    2. Anonymous Coward

      maybe he's wanted elsewhere and doesn't want to give himself away...

      It could be as simple as that...

      1. Adrian Jones

        Surely not

        Presumably they've taken his fingerprints at the very least which would match him up with an arrest warrant from another jurisdiction.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Assuming they have prints

          You're assuming that an arrest warrant from some place else would have his fingerprints. There may be warrants without prints associated with them, just a name.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hold indefinitely

    So, while he gives no name and they are unable to identify him, they can hold him in jail indefinitely? Even though the supposed crime is a nothing. It could get very silly.

    1. Ru

      Not quite

      He could be released on bail pending a hearing or trial or whatever, but to do so requires identifying him first.

      There's no reason or legal framework to hold him past the trial/hearing/whatever custodial sentence is dropped on him.

    2. Ben Liddicott
      Thumb Up

      He won't be held indefinitely

      He will be held until his trial, then he will be released with any punishment deemed served by the time spent in custody. It's really not an outrageous thing for the courts/police to do.

      If he hasn't the money for the fine and/or doesn't fancy community service, it looks like a reasonable course of action for him, too.

      Especially as the original offence was probably just sleeping rough.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge


        Since his 'crime' (trespassing in a parking garage) appears to be, as you say, just sleeping rough, surely if found guilty this would not result in a custodial sentence (unless he's fined and is unable to pay). Surely if he is suspected of a major crime his prints would have IDed him. So keeping him locked up indefinitely until he tells them his name is plain silly, not to mention wasting taxpayers money.

        I fail to see why they can't arraign him and charge him (and if necessary sentence him) as John Doe and then turn him loose.

        And by the way, my guess is domestic / family trouble

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Next headline

    Utah cops baffled in case of mysterious suicide involving chainsaw in overnight jail.

  4. banjomike
    Thumb Up

    Good luck to him

    I hope he gets away with it.

  5. Marc Lawrence
    Thumb Up


    He is playing real life monopoly and is waiting for his 'get out of jail free' card.

    1. Noons

      Re: Monopoly

      Next headline: Unknown 60-something year old buys Main Street, demands stopping passers-by to pay fee, reveals plans for building hotel.

      1. chr0m4t1c
        Thumb Up


        Ah, so you think he's linked to Apple in some way.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Quite possibly its just a way of protesting against what seems like a rather overzelaous arrest policy (tresspassing in a parking gararge ... sounds like something Constable Savage would have come up with) on the basis that "well spoken" and "60-something" may well mean he's got a pension and no work commitments so he may be refusing to co-operate on the basis that "its costing you more than its costing me to keep me here"

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Did you miss the part in the story...

      ...that says the guy could easily get out of jail >now< if he revealed his name? And that he is not doing that, thereby prolonging his stay?

      "The reason he want to get out of jail is BECAUSE HE IS IN JAIL makes no sense to him?"

      No, the fact he is staying in jail longer than he needs to is what makes no sense to the policeman.

    2. JimC

      - no sense...

      The bit that makes no sense to the copper is that the guy is saying that at some time in the future he'll want to be out of jail, but right now he's quite happy to be staying there. The cop thinks its suprising that he doesn't want to get out of jail now, and yet in the futre he wil want to.

  8. Sam Liddicott

    thumbs up

    Good luck to the guy!

    1. Stefing


      And if he's wanted somewhere for eating children?

      1. Walking Turtle

        Geographically incongruous...

        since most of this world's Devourers of Children tend to hang out 'n' hobnob within the Washington DC Beltway, many miles east of Utah, though operating these days on a grand global scale.

        This account strongly reminds one of Kurt Vonnegut's 'Foxy Grandpa' character at the Blue-Roofed Ethical Euthanasia Parlor. That one eats his Last Meal there, then gives the Ethical Suicide Hostess and Needle the skip-um-out. The orange-roofed Howard Johnson's restaurant is right next door, of course - but one must <i>pay</i> for a HoJo meal... Our friend's of the age and in a position to likely remember that character, being apparently of greater than average literacy and culture... A disaffected 'n' dispossessed former-Middle-Class professional, just maybe a laid-off 'n' disenfranchised IT Manager or similar evaporated standing...?

        Just extrapolatin'. But it's Very Vonnegut imvho. And that is all! 0{:-)o<

      2. The Commenter formally known as Matt
        Thumb Down

        >And if he's wanted somewhere for eating children?

        then thumbs down to the guy

  9. hplasm

    He's waiting-

    For the arrival of the mysterious Spheres and Keanu...

  10. Nigel 11
    Big Brother


    He's paranoid? Thinks "they" are out to get him and that anonymity in a jailhouse is the best way to foil them?

    Or maybe he's completely rational and "they" are a branch of organised crime, or a deranged homicidal ex? In which case I hope he knows that his photo has been published.

    1. Valerion

      How do you know?

      Maybe they actually ARE out to get him.

      1. M7S

        Too late surely?

        "They've" got him

  11. George Nacht

    Maybe he´s a bit ashamed

    for being a public figure and in jail. I mean, if you squint at his photo the right way, imagine trimmed hair and less harsh tan, you can see sort of George Bush right there...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Time traveller?

    Maybe he is from the future and doesn't want to upset the recent annoncement that time travel is indeed impossible?

  13. keithpeter Silver badge

    Reminds me of...

    ...Robert Burnham Jr the astronomer, see,_Jr.

    Hope he sorts it, and, yes I know a 67 year old who can be this difficult. He is owed a pension by another government who wrote to him to suggest he claimed the income. He is refusing to claim it because they are asking him for his date of birth. His reasoning is that they must have known his date of birth to think of writing him the letter in the first place.

  14. Scott 19


    He's just checking out the facility's for the next Lonely Planet.

    1. Noons

      Re: Stars

      If he/she/it wanted to blend in without being noticed these days, instead of Ford Prefect he/she/it would probably call him/her/itself Anonymous Coward, before realising those aren't actually real people...

  15. Sampler

    Three weeks without the wife?

    And a perfect excuse when you finally do see her again?

    1. Noons

      Re: Three weeks without the wife?

      I can sense a new trend...

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Happened in London in the 1970's

    A man was arrested commiting a crime. He refused to say anything to the police, judges or anyone.

    He was convicted despite the civil lib brigade throwing a stomp. He never said anything while in jail.

    I was closely associated with the case at the time.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    There wouldn't be no trouble

    Except for that king-shit cop.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or maybe it could be one of two reasons...

    1. he is exercising his right to remain silient

    2. He is waiting unitl all the tabliods have found something other to write about other than Amy Winehouse.

    1. kissingthecarpet

      Weren't the Tabliods in Doctor Who?

      I for one.. etc.

      Not that there's a preview button.. oh wait.

      1. Peter Ford

        I think you'll find...

        ... that "tabliods" is the correct spelling.

        At least for Grauniad readers

  19. kissingthecarpet
    Paris Hilton

    Depends what the cop shop is like

    If he's being held in a cell in the pigsty rather than in a prison, it might not be too bad. A friend was on remand during a screw's strike in the late 80's & he got held in a number of provincial stations. Of course in those days they'd feed the prisoners from the same trough the pigs ate from - the rather nice canteen.(I once had a very nice Sunday roast in Bexhill cells) He had access to a television, books & newspapers, & he could even smoke a sly spliff now & then. They'd even leave the cell door open during the day.( Now they hand out appalling microwave crap.)

    Icon:Picture of jailbird

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe its Andrew Crosley!

    What scares me is that the good ol' US of A is quite happy to accept multiple law suits against John and Jane Does for copyright infringement, and hammer people to the wall. Yet this JD, who has not done anything so heiniously evil as sharing music, is still locked up in the clink!


  21. dotdavid

    Maybe he has a really silly name

    Just sayin...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      That might explain

      why Frankenstein Hitler Jr. is'nt answering his phone calls.

  22. moonface
    Big Brother

    Names not on the list......'re not coming out!

    Surprised these overzealous police in the land of the free, haven't put an iron mask on him to enhance the enigma!

  23. Richard 39


    He got fed up with his wife and fancied some peace and quiet

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mentally unstable?

    Maybe he has some issue that stop him from trusting authorities?

    In the UK this wouldn't be an issue. He'd be held down and DNA taken by force.

    He'd then be arrested for failure to identify himself, regardless of why he was picked up in the first place.

    This is no fantasy - this has happened.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Citation Required

      Preferably one that is not the daily wail or news of the world.

    2. MarkieMark1

      as a matter of law

      historically – section 25 PACE – you could be arrested for a non-arrestable offence where it was impossible to properly ascertain your identity; aside from that, _in principle_ no-one should have been arrested simply for refusing to identify themselves;

      it should be said that people were regularly unlawfully arrested for non-arrestable offences as a result of the police making mistakes of law – non-arrestable offences were generally the less serious ones; the provision allowing arrest when identity is unverifiable is however legal;

      Now an arrest is allowed when 'necessary', including when identity can't be verified; there are no longer non-arrestable offences, thanks tony

  25. Ben Liddicott
    Thumb Up

    Maybe he is on the run from the mafia.

    In which case why are they putting his picture out there?

    Oh, and what will happen is it will go to trial, he will get a fine deemed paid by the time spent in custody, and be free to go. Doesn't seem outrageous.

    If he really doesn't want to give his name, why not just wait it out? Seems like a plan to me.

  26. Parax

    He signed all the forms John Doe..

    Because his name is John Doe.

    That would be funny.

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Stranger things have happened...

      Here in Norway it's common to use 'Ola Nordmann' when filling out examples of forms, ID cards and such.

      Which causes no end of grief to the sorry bloke who actually IS named that...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My name is...

    Coward, Anonymous Coward.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @ My name is...

      "Coward, Anonymous Coward."

      I see my identity has been stolen yet again.

    2. Noons

      Re: My name is...

      You, Sir, have one of the most impressive cases of multiple personality I've ever come across...

  28. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Reminds me of a short story I read many years ago...

    Sorry, can't remember the author, but I'll certainly go see if I can find the book. The plot is quite simple - the hero is a successful businessman that realises his gold-digging wife is having an affair. He follows her and overhears her and her lover discussing how she is going to take him to the cleaners. Enraged at what he sees as the bias in the law that allows his cheating wife to "steal" his fortune, he decides on a scheme to dispose of all his riches, sells his business for a dollar to his partner, gives his mansion to charity, and then avoids the wife's lawyer by getting himself thrown into prison on a minor misemeanor charge. From there, he refuses to give his name and then deliberately provokes the judge in court, keeping himself in jail until the desperate wife gives up and grants him a divorce without alimony payments. Having served the minimal time for his crime, the man leaves jail and goes to work for his old company, whilst the ex-wife is left penniless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ayn Misbehavin'

      That sounds like the Cliff's Notes version of "Atlas Shrugged."

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Another married man.

    1. MarkieMark1


      He's In Utah, there's a good chance he's Married to more than 1 wife – in fact that could be a better reason for his reticence than the policeman's somewhat typically overzealous hunches

      1. MarkieMark1



        1 - the article says the policeman refers to John Doe's 'family background' = evidence of some intrusive questioning, possibly the kind that would lead to a person buttoning it up

        2 - Utah, as we know, contains many Mormons, whose deeper attitude to polygamy is non-mainstream

        3 - the policeman's suspicions of John Doe being some kind of vague unspecified mega-wanted person as a way of overstating his chagrin at the non-cooperation, are a clear sign of overzealousness;

        so I have to infer that the thumbs down are from Mormons? Whoever you are, you seem unwilling to clearly state your contention

        NB as it happens I'm in favor of legal polygamy, in a non-cult setting, particularly given current trends in the definition of marriage

        1. Sam Liddicott

          thumbs up

          I gave him thumbs up and I'm a mormon.

          Mormons who practice polygamy get excommunicated hence polygamists aren't mormon for very long.

          Trivia: Mormon polygamists in the old days had to get permission of the first wife

  30. Anonymous Coward


    What if his name really IS John Doe? ;)

  31. Robert Ramsay

    I thought... was Steve Jobs' Dad.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Makings for

    This has all the makings for another Rambo movie.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    I know who he is...

    ...I mean, just look at his photo. It's Spike Milligan - he faked his own death so that people would just finally leave him alone!

  34. tom 24

    I just felt like sleepin'..

    Perhaps he's just stubborn. "I haven't done anything wrong and my name is my own business. I can wait." Here in the USA you're innocent until proven guilty...unless you want privacy, in which case the press can get tetchy.

  35. mac42

    Uh... Hello! Doesn't law enforcement watch the history channel?

    Three Words. D. B. Cooper.

    1. Martin Budden Silver badge

      OMFG you are right!

      Compare the mugshot of the guy in custody with the age-progressed sketch of D. B. Cooper: they look the same!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Interesting idea, this one

    To me it's quite obvious that police is going to keep this guy in jail without a charge forever.

    He's "not cooperative" or something totally ludicrous and that justifies easily 20-50 years in prison, in any modern court in so called "western countries", i.e. police states. Any of them.

    Resisting police is the biggest crime you can do and the penalty is either death or lifetime in prison and the method of the resistance is irrelevant: Keeping silent is as good as shooting back, police don't care: Resistance, any resistance, is not tolerated at all: Total nazism is the name of the game.

  37. Peter Murphy

    I should read the headline more carefully.

    I originally read it as "Utah cops baffled in case of mysterious anonymous coffee". I can see the news interview now...

    "We found this man dumping beans in our police station. We don't know what brand it is, but Forensics reveals that it's 100% Arabica. Upon further investigation (consisting of grinding them up, and purchase of an Expresso machine from petty cash), we found that the resulting brew was better than Starbucks."

    1. Decius


      After further research, the make-it-go-faster machine was junked and an espresso machine was purchased. The motor oil that the previous machine produced was still found better than Starbucks.

  38. Mr. Ed

    Here's a simple idea

    Leave the guy alone. Until a couple of years ago it was no crime at all in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave to refuse to give one's name to the police. Now, in the Land of the Fearful a guy gets put in jail for it? For how long??? Why don't these Official Busybodies go back to the donut shop and leave us the heck alone.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Here's a simple idea

      Here's a simpler idea - read the article! He was arrested for trespass, not for anything to do with not giving his name.

    2. Decius

      Do the crime, do the time...

      How, exactly, can you justify setting bail for someone who refuses to identify himself? The absolute highest you could set bail would be the the cash he had on him... and no way to issue a bench warrant if he skipped.

      No, this guy is either proving a point, pulling a prank, or an investigative reporter.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        RE: Do the crime, do the time...

        "How, exactly, can you justify setting bail for someone who refuses to identify himself?...." Ooh, I don't know, how about failure to co-operate with an investigation? Contempt of court (if he didn't supply a name when requested in the bail hearing)? IANAL but you are obviously also NAL and not given to much thought before posting.

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