January 6, 2007 6:50pm CST
Shoplifting incident On December 12, 2001, Ryder was arrested for shoplifting thousands of dollars' worth of designer clothes and accessories at Saks Fifth Avenue department store in Beverly Hills, California. Los Angeles District Attorney Stephen Cooley set up a team of eight prosecutors and seized the opportunity to prosecute the actress aggressively. He filed four felony charges against her in what was described by The Guardian (UK) as a show-trial since the prosecution demanded the trial be televised. Ryder hired noted defense attorney Mark Geragos. Negotiations for a plea-bargain failed at the end of summer 2002. As noted by Joel Mowbray from the National Review, the prosecution was not ready to offer the actress what was given to 5000 other defendants in similar cases, an open door to a no-contest plea on misdemeanor charges. During the trial, she was also accused of using drugs without valid prescriptions. According to a probation report that can be found on the The Smoking Gun website, she had filled up to 37 prescriptions written by 20 doctors, using six different aliases, in a three-year period. The defense produced the written prescriptions for the drugs that the police found in her purse, and the prosecution consequently dropped the charge. Ryder was convicted of grand theft and vandalism, but the jury acquitted her on the third felony charge, burglary. In December 2002, she was sentenced to three years' probation, 480 hours of community service, $3,700 in fines, and $6,355 in restitution to Saks—and the judge ordered the actress to attend psychological and drug counselling. The charges were eventually reviewed, and on June 18, 2004 the felonies were reduced to misdemeanors.