Felony charges for woman who rented Sabrina The Teenage Witch 21 years ago and failed to return it

Assuming she watched the movie, hasn’t she suffered enough???


I see she lives in Texas.

Is this not one of those situations where a good guy with a gun is the solution?

Probably not.


It’s generally not. According to the article, she was charged and a warrant was filed. It also says the charges were dismissed by the current DA, which wouldn’t be possible if she was already tried.

So no, she was not tried and found guilty in absentia.


“So what are you in for?”


When I was a kid, in the late 80s, I returned a VHS tape to a video rental store after mom dropped me off outside. Presumably, someone not the counter guy took it from me or the counter where I put it and stole it. Since my family was the last family to have it, they considered it a lost rental.

Because it was a new release, it was under a lease program from the studio/distributor for the first eight weeks. They were charged $50 per week to lease it, and were told if it was lost at the end of the term, they would have to pay its list price of $2599. So our family got billed $500, which was the insurance premium for the video store’s lost rental recoup thing. Because it was an accident, and the distributor got their $2599 from the insurance company.

But that’s because it was an accident. If it was intentional, meaning, whoever stole it off the counter after I turned it in, that person committed a felony.

That’s how much an old VHS can be worth. Videos for rental operate on a different pricing structure than videos for sale.


Wow! Thanks for this - I had no idea the list prices were so high. :astonished:


I never saw it. Its slot on the video store shelf was always empty.


Wow that seems really high, but I do remember that they movies were super expensive at one point - especially because they used to have three release tiers.

  1. The movie comes out in theaters.
  2. The movie is released on media (VHS, DVD, etc) but were super high priced and only rental companies could really afford them.
  3. The movie was released commercially, so the average person could afford it.

I had a friend who left a James Bond DVD on his dash and the sun warped it. He had to pay $100 to replace it! Later that year you could find it for $20 in stores.


I had a buddy in high school who could add movies to the acquisitions of the movie store he worked in. He got a few obscure titles for me, but the licensed to rent versions were 5X the retail price and sometimes much more. There were a few they just weren’t willing to pay for. ‘Obscured by Clouds’ was one I remember. Had to wait years to see that.

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Sabrina the Teenage Witch Hunt


Seems like the perfect slimeball move. Buy the accounts of old closed video stores and terrorize people.

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"Litterin’ "

“And creatin’ a public nuisance.”


After Eric Gardner was murdered for selling single cigarettes, a law professor published an article about a thought experiment he conducts with his students. The basic premise was that we shouldn’t pass laws we aren’t willing to kill to enforce. Because when you pass a law, someone will break it and the police will need to enforce it and some people will resist enforcement so the police will use force and someone may end up dead. And if you can’t accept that, don’t pass the law. I think it’s meant as an argument for having less laws, because the more we criminalize, the more chances there are for bad things to happen during enforcement actions.

I’m not really convinced by the argument and I think it gives the police a pass on shitty behavior. But it’s still something I reflect on sometimes when I read stuff like this. For this to get as far as it did, a whole bunch of people had to think this was a worthy cause for the criminal justice system to take up. If anyone is interested, the original article is behind a paywall but there’s a summary here and the original can still be accessed by searching Google’s cache.

That’s an interesting point, but I think that there are two corollary points that also ought to be raised alongside that.

  1. Law books are full of old laws that were probably passed into law with the intent that they would be enforced, but that prohibit actions that have since become common (such as swearing). Many people may not even realize that these laws are still on the books, and just as it’s not easy to pass a new law, it’s also not easy to repeal an obsolete law.

  2. The key issue here is not that “the police will need to enforce it,” but that police and prosecutors have the discretion to enforce these laws when it suits them and, likewise, to ignore them when it suits them. This kind of selective enforcement inevitably has an outsized effect on communities of color, because systemic racism predisposes police and prosecutors to assume that people of color are surely doing something wrong and to look for something, anything to fit their bias. Sometimes, these laws were specifically written (as I said above, a lot of them are old laws) with the unspoken intent that they would be used to keep people of color in check. This is the real issue with laws like this; not that they made something illegal with wishy-washy intentions with respect to enforcement.

More Slack, or kill me…

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