May 23, 2010

Court throws the book at overdue patron

From the Des Moines Register

The Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected an appeal from a man sentenced to five years in prison for not returning library materials.

The court dismissed Brian Linebach's claim that there wasn't enough evidence to support his February 2009 conviction for second-degree theft. Linebach also was ordered to pay nearly $1,080 restitution. He was accused of checking out 40 books and DVDs from the Ankeny library and not returning them.

Court records show he claimed he returned three of the items and that the value of the non-returned items would have only been $999.84, less than the $1,000 needed to support the charge.

But the appeals court said Linehart miscalculated the value of the items he claimed to have returned.

Linebach argued the district court erred when it didn't accept his brother's testimony that the library could have replaced the items for much less by buying them over the Internet, but the argument was rejected by the appeals court, which cited the lower court's decision. "Linebach chose to take items from the library, not from the Half-Price Book Store. He should not complain about his victim's purchasing practices," the district court said.

The lower court indicated it had taken into account Linebach's prior criminal history, interventions in the past and programs that had been offered to help Linebach. It also considered the need for Linebach to have maximum opportunities for rehabilitation and that "the court does not believe that probation would have met these goals."

"Our review shows no abuse of discretion in the court's decision to impose a term of incarceration," the appeals court wrote.

Read the full story here.

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