Emails reveal stay-at-home mom was aware of outstanding library books, and promised to return them amid previous warrant

April 1, 2024: Kaylee Morgan was stunned when she found out a warrant was out for her arrest for an overdue library book in Grimes County, Tx. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

A stay-at-home mother who feels she was unjustly punished for not returning library books was reportedly made aware of the issue multiple times before the courts issued her a warrant.

SEE ALSO: Stay-at-home mother faces legal battle after overdue library book arrest warrant

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According to a statement released by the city of Navasota, the library director and the woman, Kaylee Morgan, have been in communication about the books for the last year.

Here’s what happened

The woman reportedly rented several books from the Navasota Public Library in Grimes County, Texas in March 2023. These books were intended for her homeschooled children.

Morgan, a wife and a mother of five, faced a difficult pregnancy, dealing with hyperemesis and placenta previa. Due to these circumstances, she was unable to return the books by the due date. Her husband returned all but one book, as it didn’t fit in the library’s drop box.

To her surprise, when Morgan went to renew her driver’s license, she discovered a warrant for a $570 ticket – all because of overdue books. When she tried explaining the situation to Judge Patricia M. Gruner, she was met with dismissal and told to “take responsibility” without any consideration for her circumstances.

SEE ALSO: Stay-at-home mother faces jail time after arrest warrant issued for unreturned books at Grimes County library

Morgan was then charged with a Class C misdemeanor theft of government property which she says is excessive.

“There are so many other things we can do as consequence. I do agree having a time frame for library books is important so everyone can participate but maybe community service like you returned a book late so come read to the kiddos,” she said.

The messages

According to a statement from the city, Morgan applied for and received a library card on March 17, 2023. She then checked out two books that were due to be returned to the library by March 31, 2023. When the books were not returned on time, two overdue notices were reportedly mailed to her at the address she provided to the library in her March 2023 application for a library card.

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On May 23, 2023, the Library Director emailed the following message to Morgan using the email address provided to the library at the time of the application for a library card:

“Good Afternoon! Were you able to locate the overdue books? Our system turns it over to the municipal court after so long and I’d hate for you to get charged extra once that happens. If you can return them this week, I can stall it.”

Morgan responded to the email on the same day at 4:57 p.m.:

“I’ll bring them by tomorrow!”

The city went on to say that no books were returned following that conversation.

“Per the City’s library ordinance, once there has been no response to notices from the library and no action has been taken to resolve the matter, information regarding the outstanding items is then forwarded to the Navasota Municipal Court for action. Again, this process is outlined in the City’s library ordinance (Code of Ordinances 1.09.004 (b)) and acknowledged by each patron upon application and receipt of a library card. On May 3, 2023, Ms. Morgan was mailed a final overdue notice concerning the two late books noted above. This notice specifically informed Ms. Morgan these actions constitute a Class C Misdemeanor.”

Dates, court records

The following is the timeline of events, mapped out by the City of Navasota.

Several days after attempting to contact Morgan, the library director submitted a formal complaint about the books to the Navasota Municipal Court on May 31, 2023.

The next day, on June 1, 2023, the Court issued a summons to Morgan to appear before the Municipal Court of the City of Navasota on Tuesday, June 20, 2023. The summons was mailed, which was then returned “Return to Sender – Attempted – Not Known – Unable to Forward.”

Morgan then reportedly did not appear before the Court on June 20 for her arraignment/initial appearance.

Therefore, on Aug. 10, 2023, the Court issued another Notice of Appearance to enter a plea on the charge for Aug. 24, 2023.

This notice stated that “Failure to enter a plea in person or in writing may result in a warrant for your arrest.”

Morgan then did not appear on Aug. 24, 2023, for the second Appearance Notice, which resulted in the court issuing a warrant on Sept. 1, 2023, for failure to respond to the Court regarding Violation of City Ordinance – Library with a fine amount of $569.40 and bond set at $1,139.

The same day the warrant was issued, the Municipal Court mailed a courtesy notice to Morgan notifying her of the warrant.

The city added that on Sept. 25, 2023, 25 days after the warrant was issued and six months after the two books were due, the two books were still not returned.

Though the books were returned six months after the due date, Morgan still needed to resolve the pending case that had been filed in the Municipal Court on May 31, 2023.

The city added that Morgan chose to wait until March 28, 2024, a year after the books were due, to appear before the Court.

When Morgan ultimately stood before the Navasota Municipal Judge, she opted for a plea of no contest and waived her right to a jury trial. The Court found her guilty of violating a City Ordinance related to the library.

During the proceedings, Morgan initially proposed a payment of $20. Following a discussion with the judge, she was encouraged to pay an amount ranging from $20 to $500, but she did not respond.

Considering Morgan’s plea and appearance, the Navasota Municipal Judge lifted the warrant on April 2, 2024.


About the Author

Moriah Ballard joined the KPRC 2 digital team in the fall of 2021. Prior to becoming a digital content producer in Southeast Texas and a Houstonian, Moriah was an award-winning radio host in her hometown of Lorain, Ohio, and previously worked as a producer/content creator in Cleveland. Her faith, family, and community are her top passions.

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