Cell phone-snatching teacher cleared of theft charge

  • West Lafayette (IN) - A Purdue University instructor has been cleared of theft charges in a criminal lawsuit, but not until after the special prosecutor's phone added a bit of irony to the case.

    A university student, whose name was not released, was in Les Meade's class when his cell phone started ringing.  Meade told him to turn it off but the student did not comply, leading Meade to take the student's phone, telling him he could pick it up the next day from the dean's office.

    The student called the police after class and accused Meade of stealing.  Meade, an adjunct instructor who also serves as a superior court judge, was then forced to return the phone.

    Facing a standard criminal court hearing, Meade was relieved of all charges.  However, as the special prosecutor was reading the ruling, his own mobile phone began to ring.  The ringtone is even more ironic - "I Fought the Law (and the Law Won)".  The courtroom has signs demanding people turn off cell phones while court is in session.

    The special prosecutor, Rob Ives, left the room and then came back to officially deliver the court's decision.  Meade's reaction was less intense for Ives, saying he liked the ringtone and adding, "It was the perfect ending to this little annoyance."