PORTLAND, Ore. — James Tindell skipped out of state this spring rather than attend drug treatment and follow other conditions he accepted to avoid prison after pleading guilty to robbery in 2010.
But rather do everything possible to avoid detection, he used Facebook to taunt his probation officer and write angry messages about the Multnomah County judge who sentenced him, The Oregonian reported.
“Fresh out of another state,” Tindell wrote April 20, “Catch me if you can.” Later, he signed a rant about the criminal justice system: “the 1 who got away.”
Tindell apparently didn’t realize who might be reading his Facebook page, with such posts as, “I’m in Alabama.” He also posted a sonogram of his unborn son that showed the name of the county general hospital in Alabama where it was taken.
But probation officer Todd Roberts does monitor the social network and he collected the posts. He figured out where Tindell might be, and asked prosecutors to issue a nationwide arrest warrant, which Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber signed.
“The way we found out where James Tindell was, was through Facebook,” deputy district attorney Michael Schmidt said. “And, it’s not because we were super sleuths.”
Last month, Tindell was arrested for speeding in Daphne, Ala. An officer ran his license and found the warrant.
Soon, he was on a flight to appear before the same judge he had criticized on Facebook.
“Mr. Tindell,” Judge Eric J. Bloch said at a June 8 hearing in Multnomah County Circuit Court. “You turned in some good periods of performance. And then, for whatever reason, you decided that you had had enough, and you just took off, and you never looked back.”
Tindell, in tears, pleaded for leniency.
Bloch cut him off. “Sir, you could have stayed here and done treatment. You decided to run away. So how could you now be asking for me to give you another chance to avoid prison? “
Crying, Tindell admitted, “I messed up.”
Bloch sentenced him to 2½ years in prison and ordered him to reimburse the state for the cost of flying him back: $2,600.