A Michigan couple has had it with the library and library books after they were arraigned for owing late charges in a courtroom and had to post $100 in bail to avoid being locked up. The couple had two library books overdue and while one was returned after a notice they received at the end of last year, the fees involved were astronomical.
According to MSN News on April 16, the couple took out two books in 2015 and they admit they were negligent in not returning them. The couple received a notice in December suggesting they return the books and pay the fees and fines or they could be charged with a crime. The couple found the book “The Rome Prophecy” and returned it, but the “Dr. Seuss” book that their grandchild was reading was lost.
ABC News reports that two late library books now have Cathy and Melvin Duran charged with larceny of rental equipment. “We were appalled, totally appalled,” Catherine Duren, 44, told ABC News today. “We didn’t commit a crime.” Both Cathy and Melvin, 63, have problems with their health and for that reason they are on disability. They take in a minimal amount of money each month, so these fines and fees are not within their budget by any means.
It was the newly established Economic Crimes Unit of the Lenawee County Prosecutor’s Office, led by Detective Robert Kellogg, who sent a notice suggesting the couple could be prosecuted for larceny of rental equipment if they did not pay the fees. Was this new unit going overboard trying to prove its worth? Is crime so low in that area that people on disability are dragged into court for overdue library books? It has to be an embarrassment now that the news has gone nationwide.
On top of the late fees, fines and money to replace the book, they also wanted $210 dollars, $105 for each book for what they called “a diversion fee,” which is used to help fund the unit.
To cover the late fees on both books and the replacement cost of the “Dr. Seuss,” Cathy and Melvin Duren sent in a $55 money order to the prosecutor’s office. The money order was refused by the prosecutor’s office, said Cathy, because she and her husband refused to pay the $210 diversion fees to the Lenawee County prosecutor’s crime unit. On top of everything else they had to pay $100 bond when the arrest warrants were served to keep them from being put in jail at the arraignment.
Cathy feels like she is the victim of extortion orchestrated by the prosecutor’s office. Then she said that she believes neither of them will check out a library book again.