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Ryder sentenced to 3 years probation

Actress must undergo counseling, perform community service

Ryder reacts to District Attorney Ann Rundle's criticism of the actress mentioning her work for missing children.
Ryder reacts to District Attorney Ann Rundle's criticism of the actress mentioning her work for missing children.

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Excerpts from Winona Ryder's sentencing following her conviction for stealing from the Beverly Hills, California, Saks Fifth Avenue store (December 6)
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Actress Winona Ryder was sentenced on Friday to three years probation and ordered to undergo psychological and drug counseling, bringing to close a very non-routine shoplifting case.

In addition to the probation and counseling, Superior Court Judge Elden Fox sentenced Ryder to perform 480 hours of community service and to pay more than $10,000 in fines and restitution following her conviction for stealing from the Beverly Hills, California, Saks Fifth Avenue store last year.

Additionally, Fox chastised the actress, warning her that "If you steal again, you will go to jail."

The two-time Academy Award nominee was convicted in November of felony grand theft and vandalism for taking more than $5,500 worth of merchandise at the store last year.

"It is not my intention to make an example of you," Fox told Ryder. But he said she had disappointed many people and she would have to "confront certain issues" that led to her behavior. "You have refused to accept personal responsibility," the judge told Ryder.

Fox ordered Ryder to serve her community service by April 7, saying she would have to spend 240 hours at City of Hope, 120 hours at the Foundation for the Junior Blind, and 120 hours at the Caring for Babies With AIDS Foundation.

Ryder received a technical term of one day in jail but was given credit for the day she was booked.

Ryder's press agent, in a statement released Friday, said, "Winona Ryder accepts responsibility for what happened on December 12, 2001, and continuously tried to resolve this case without a trial. "She is thankful that the judge has allowed the community service to enable her continued work with children."

Angry exchange

Friday's sentencing came after a fiery round of testimony by an attorney for Saks Fifth Avenue, prosecutor Ann Rundle and Ryder's lawyer, Mark Geragos.

Before announcing his ruling, the judge heard testimony from Ken Metzner, an attorney for Saks, who criticized the actress' conduct during the trial.

Metzner accused Ryder and her defense team of portraying the actress to the public as the victim in the crimes when, in fact, Saks and the employees involved in the shoplifting incident was the true victim.

Those employees have been "subjected to intense and malicious scrutiny simply because they had the misfortune of apprehending a movie star thief," Metzner told the court.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos took issue with Metzner's depiction and said Saks had benefited from the publicity, posting profits in their most recent quarterly report.

Despite Saks' and the prosecution's claim that Ryder would be treated no differently than any other shoplifting suspect, Geragos said they had practiced character assassination before, during and after the trial.

start quoteI don't think that one crime should trump all the good she's done in her lifeend quote
-- Ryder attorney Mark Geragos

"I don't think that one crime should trump all the good she's done in her life," Geragos said, citing Ryder's work with American Indian causes and with the Polly Klaas Foundation for missing children.

Geragos said that Polly Klaas' father, Mark, had wanted to speak in Ryder's behalf before sentencing was announced, but had been detained. Ryder had mounted a campaign to find the missing 12-year-old girl from Petaluma, California, and had offered a reward of up to $1 million in the case.

Prosecutor Ann Rundle responded angrily to Geragos' charges that Ryder had been treated unfairly and objected that the defense attorney mentioned the child as part of a charatcer defense.

"What's offensive to me is to trot out the body of a dead child," the prosecutor began. "I've heard this for over a year."

Geragos objected loudly and Ryder rose partly from her seat, tossing an icy glare toward the prosecutor. The judge admonished Rundle to stick to the shoplifting case.

Actress said she believed she had account at store

The 31-year-old actress' now-infamous shopping trip on December 12, 2001, drew international headlines and was the fodder of late-night talk show jokes. During her trial, jurors were shown videotapes of Ryder wandering through the store's designer boutiques and taking a large number of items into dressing rooms.

The tapes did not show Ryder cutting off sensor tags with scissors, but a security guard testified she looked through door slats and witnessed the vandalism.

Security staff personnel testified that after Ryder was caught, she said a director had told her to shoplift to prepare for a movie role.

Defense attorneys said that after Ryder's first purchase, the actress believed the store would keep her account "open" and charge her later. But there was no evidence of an account.

Earlier this week, prosecutors revealed that Ryder had eight narcotics in her possession -- all prescribed by doctors -- when she was arrested.

Transcripts made public after the trial disclosed that Ryder was suspected of shoplifting from two other high-end department stores in the past, but no charges were filed. Prosecutors were not allowed to present those allegations during the trial.

Ryder, who began her film career as a teenager in 1986, earned Academy Award nominations for "Little Women" and "The Age of Innocence."

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