A Michigan convict who won accolades for his book of short stories may be forced to give up all he earned from his book deal. Curtis Dawkins' debut, The Graybar Hotel, was published in July by Scribner and details life behind bars in ways that have thrilled readers. Michigan's Department of Treasury is less enthused, however, and has filed a court complaint that asks that 90% of the convicted killer's reported $150,000 advance be given to the state as payment for the cost of his imprisonment. Michigan's attorney general reportedly filed the complaint, which states that Dawkins is not entitled to the money or to transfer any of it to his family, not long after his victim's brother complained publicly about the book deal, per the Guardian. Because he cannot afford an attorney, Dawkins is scheduled to defend himself in the case.
Dawkins has in the past expressed remorse for the 2004 botched robbery that led to the murder of Thomas Bowman. The New York Times reports he intends to argue that the same law the attorney general says allows the state to keep the profits also stipulates that courts must consider a convict's obligation to provide for his children or spouse when deciding such cases. Michigan is one of some 40 states with laws on the books that allow the government to force inmates to pay for incarceration. According to the Times, Michigan collected $3.7 million from fewer than 300 of the state's 40,000 inmates. A hearing in Dawkins' case is scheduled for Feb. 26 in Kalamazoo. (Read more prisoner stories.)