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Crime Idle

South Carolina Woman Jailed After Failing To Return Movie Rented Nine Years Ago 467

Posted by samzenpus
from the beyond-the-late-fee dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Could you imagine being arrested for failing to return a movie you rented 9-years earlier? Well that's just what happened to one South Carolina woman. 'According to a Feb 13 arrest report, 27-year-old Kayla Finley rented Monster-in-Law in 2005 from now defunct video store Dalton video. The woman failed to return the video within the 72 hour rental limit, eventually leading up to her arrest 9 years later.'"
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South Carolina Woman Jailed After Failing To Return Movie Rented Nine Years Ago

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  • by pcjunky (517872) <> on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:24PM (#46263467) Homepage

    She will need to look up the laws in her state but here in Florida the statute of limitations is 5 years for a written contract. This should be easy to make go away.

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:41PM (#46263573) Homepage

    Unfortunately for her, the arrest warrant was issued in 2005 and I don't think those expire. It's stupid that this originated with a tape rental, and I'm shocked that the video store pressed charges, but those tapes were worth over $100 and theft is theft.

  • Re:Debt (Score:2, Informative)

    by bws111 (1216812) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:43PM (#46263587)

    This wasn't owing a debt, it was plain old theft.

  • Arresting someone for theft under $10 ("Monster-In-Law" on DVD retails for about $5)

    The cost for the store was much higher than that. Rental outlets don't just go to walmart and buy DVDs, they had to get them with rental licenses from the studios (ever notice the FBI warning on the discs you buy, warning you not to rent it out?). We can probably assume it was a reasonably new release when it was rented, so the cost was something closer to $50 per disc.

    A more efficient punishment would be to seize wages/tax refunds/etc. in the amount of the theft + some additional punitive amount.

    That is reasonable, but do the math in a reasonable manner to reflect the true cost to the merchant.

  • by CauseBy (3029989) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @10:54PM (#46263641)

    Stop with the transparent false dichotomies. The police exercise wide discretion in everything they do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:11PM (#46263731)

    The cops have no discretion when a warrant is valid... particularly with a valid in-state warrant. When the warrant was issued, no one knew it would take 9 years for the woman to be tagged with it. Indeed, it would have been a greater waste of taxpayer resources to try to track her down over a $10 video and execute the warrant 9 years ago personally instead of by mail. Many petit larceny cases are treated like this.

  • by compro01 (777531) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:42PM (#46263937)

    In your rush to leap the defense of foreclosure, you missed the fact that none of what you're talking about has anything to do with what MickyTheIdiot was talking about, which is shit like being foreclosed on even if you've paid up [] or being foreclosed on, even though you don't have a mortgage [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2014 @11:59PM (#46264031)

    IANAL but a decent lawyer should be able to make it go away....unless she admitted to it to whoever arrested her. I assume they would need a paper trail and witness testimony to convict. Nine years and a defunct business might make that difficult.

    I agree that the police had to follow through on the outstanding warrant, but if she hasn't admitted it, and refuses to plead guilty, the prosecutor will be the one wasting money if he/she takes it any further.

  • Re:Debt (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jack9 (11421) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:24AM (#46264149)

    > Keep in mind that it's hard to return a movie to a defunct video chain.

    Keep in mind she was arrested for an outstanding warrant. Returning the video would not have invalidated that. She was released on her own recognizance.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:25AM (#46264151) Journal

    See, chances are the charges about "stealing" the video will be dropped, because the Video Store company will probably not show up for a court date against her. But that didn't change that she had a bench warrant issued for her back when the store was still around.

    What will happen is this: She will show up for the court date and the judge will dismiss the charges because of the age and that the video store is no longer around.

    Had she bothered to take care of it back in the day, she would of gotten a fine and no jail time. But since she didn't, and they apparently don't have an age limit on those type of warrants, she got served the warrant when they found out she had one. And the warrants mean you get arrested and put in jail until you can go before a judge. So for her that was spending a night in jail for a video.

  • Re:Sheriff (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Monday February 17, 2014 @04:38AM (#46265065)
    From the article:

    Pickens County deputy Hashe claims that Finley was at the sheriff's office on another matter when the outstanding warrant was discovered.

    So neither guns nor cars where involved here, she was already at the sheriff's office for a different, unrelated matter. Btw, that's probably why it took so long to execute that warrant (which actually was issued the same year that she failed to return the movie): the matter was too trivial to send a squad car with armed officers to her home, and police basically ignored it.

  • Sigh (Score:4, Informative)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Monday February 17, 2014 @04:59AM (#46265131) Journal

    Video stores bought special copies, back when rental was still big, these copies were available earlier then retail release of the same movie. And they did cost more.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17, 2014 @05:04AM (#46265157)

    What planet are you from, I mean originally? A police officer has the discretion of shoving his fist up your ass while tazering your balls for resisting that fist with your spasming anal sphincter muscle. In fact he can just take his gun and shoot you for whatever reason and squeeze your testicles until they pop while you slowly choke on your screams and your own blood. Now, if that police officer feels so inclined he can also ignore a warrant and maybe even buy you a new pair of shoes and a winter jacket because he feels sorry for your ass. Miracles do happen.

  • by sjames (1099) on Monday February 17, 2014 @05:23AM (#46265213) Homepage

    The subprime lending crises was caused by banks talking first time buyers into mortgages on McMansions, rigging them to be nearly certain to blow up, and then fraudulently reselling the loans as AAA investments.

    What they are supposed to do is make reasonable loans to first time buyers for starter homes. Had they actually done that, there would never have been a crisis.

  • Re:Debt (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jack9 (11421) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:35PM (#46267607)

    > The police in Canada would not arrest you for an un-returned video no matter how long you had it because it is an obvious civil matter to be resolved by small claims court

    IANAL but you can read about how that's not what happened.

    > Yes, you have broken the law, and the owner of the video can take you to court, but you can't go to jail unless you fail to return the video after losing your small claims case, and then you would be going to jail for contempt, not theft.

    There was no small claims case, because there was no appearance in a filed report of theft. Maybe it would have been thrown out for improper venue (meaning go to small claims), but more likely the fees associated with non-returning for 2 years passes the $500 (or whatever maximum for that area) that Small Claims can arbitrate. The warrant was likely for failure to appear and summary judgement of guilt. There isn't enough information here to say definitively, but deduction gives a couple possibilities. Warrants are issued to ensure other localities can arrest and hold regardless of charges (which may not even apply in the locality they are apprehended). That's part of the purpose of a warrant. It says "this person is wanted for a crime somewhere else, bring them back to us". Warrants sometimes describe what the crime was, but often do not because it can be complicated (failure to appear as a subpoena'd witness to testify about a civil case against a public defender being at a strip club instead of in court for a 3rd party contempt case, etc.)...Where the warrant applies is always present.

    You seem amusingly critical for not recognizing the basic flow of events or even understanding the subtleties of the US justice system. Nobody spent tax money to chase her down, she ended up in a police station and was nabbed for a warrant. Nothing in the video cassette case seemed improper.

"A car is just a big purse on wheels." -- Johanna Reynolds