Accused Videotape-Keeper Beats the Rap

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Showing a little belated common sense, Pickens County has apparently decided it doesn't need to incarcerate Kayla Finley, who was arrested the other day on a nine-year-old warrant for the crime of failing to return a rented copy of Monster-In-Law. For now that's based solely on this online docket entry, noticed by Jim Dedman of Gallivan, White & Boyd (and of at least equal importance, the Abnormal Use blog):

Finley dismissed

Back on the street

If this holds up, Finley will have escaped any punishment for her alleged crime, other than (1) a night in jail, (2) having to post a $2,000 bond (seriously?), and (3) having watched Monster-In-Law in the first place.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, the sheriff's office insisted that "there is no acceptable level of approved theft" and that years-old cases "are tried every day." True, but that doesn't mean it's necessary to throw every micro-criminal in jail.

Dammit, here I thought I had coined "micro-criminal" but Google says no. See, e.g., Roberto Saviano, Gomorrah, p. 256 (2007) ("That was how the Casalesi clan resolved the problem of this micro-criminal excrescence…."). The term is ambiguous anyway, because I can see at least three possible meanings: (1) one who commits extremely minor crimes (the meaning above), (2) one who commits any level of crime but is very tiny, or (3) a criminal of any level or size who happens to be from Micro, North Carolina. It looks like I could claim either of the last two meanings, but probably won't.

More valid, probably, was the sheriff's comment that a deputy just doesn't have the legal authority to ignore arrest warrants that are "valid on their face," even if they do describe nine-year-old movie-keeping charges. Finley may have been lucky that she was able to get in front of a judge the very next day (but a $2,000 bond? why?), and also that a prosecutor quickly exercised some of that prosecutorial discretion we're always hearing about (if that's what happened) and dropped the charges.

More on this previously breaking story if there are any further developments.