Although Paul Baldwin was charged only with stealing a can of beer (retail value: $1.99), on May 19 a judge in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, set his bail at $10,000. This may have something to do with the fact that this was apparently Baldwin’s 153rd arrest.
"We deal with Paul Baldwin more than anyone else," said local prosecutor Corey MacDonald, who described Baldwin as "a leech on the resources of this community." While most of the infractions (which, besides the 153 arrest-worthy ones, also included 75 citations and eight trespass notices) are probably a sad consequence of alcohol and drug abuse, others appear to include more serious crimes like theft, receiving stolen property, and arson. Based on the total numbers, Baldwin’s current age (48), and my speculation that most arrests happen after the age of 12, Baldwin has had a run-in with the law on average every seven weeks for the last 36 years.
So it may not be surprising that he declined to have an attorney appointed to represent him this week. "I don’t need a lawyer," he told the judge. "I’ve been in this court more than you have."