A Michigan couple was prosecuted for two late Dr. Seuss library books. A judge told them they could land in jail for up to 93 days and face a maximum $500 fine, reported the Associated Press.
Cathy and Melvin Duren of Tecumseh, Mich., appeared in Lenawee County Court on April 14—both facing a misdemeanor charge of failure to return rental property.
They owe about $35 in late fees for “The Rome Prophecy,” borrowed in April 2015. They found and returned it in January.
However, they seemed to have misplaced the other Dr. Seuss book their teenage son borrowed for their granddaughter to read during a visit in July 2014.
“I can’t image going to jail over it, but I certainly will fight these charges because I’m not guilty,” Cathy Duren said.
Although the couple admitted that they were indeed careless, they still think it’s unfair that they were both charged with a $105 “diversion fee” to the Lenawee County Economic Crimes Unit, in addition to the monies owed to the Tecumseh Public Library, WXYZ-TV reported.
In December, the Durens received a letter from the library in which they were advised to return the two books and pay the fees, or the replacement costs if they could not find the books.
The letter also warned them that they could be charged with a crime if they failed to follow normal protocol.
Cathy Duren sent a $55 money order to the prosecutor’s office earlier this year to cover the late fees and replacement cost for the lost book (title unknown).
The Durens were served with arrest warrants last Friday, but paid the $100 bond to prevent jail time.
After all the hassle, the couple are convinced they probably will never check out a library book again.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.