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Case dropped in overdue VHS rental of 'Monster-in-Law'

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeTheftLaws and Legislation

She had already spent a night in jail, all for allegedly failing to return a VHS she rented eight years ago of the movie "Monster-in-Law." She faced a $1,000 fine and up to a full month behind bars.

But the saga now has a feel-good Hollywood ending -- the former video store is declining to pursue the accusation.

The plight of Kayla Michell Finley had made headlines nationwide, prompting comments about law enforcement priorities and injustice -- or at least snarky remarks about VHS tapes.

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement late this week that Dalton’s Video, which no longer exists, looked at the enormous amount of media attention the case generated and other factors in making the decision.

Finley, 27, spent a night in jail earlier this month after deputies found an arrest warrant in her name when she had come to a station to report a “domestic situation.” She did not respond to a message left by the Los Angeles Times on a phone number attached to the arrest document.

The case was odd because the type of larceny she was arrested on suspicion of committing -- “failure to return a rented video” --  was taken off the books in 2010 by South Carolina lawmakers. A couple of legislators told The Greenville News this week that they would consider a law stopping authorities from arresting people based on laws that no longer exist.

The Sheriff’s Department noted that the law gives them no leeway to ignore a warrant and that arrests for seemingly petty offenses are a regular occurrence.

“In South Carolina, there is no acceptable level of approved theft in terms of the value of the stolen property,” the department said in an earlier statement. “An individual is no less guilty of larceny or stealing in South Carolina when proven guilty in a court of law that they have stolen an item worth $15 versus someone that steals property valued at thousands of dollars.”

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