Bill's Content points out this Slate column, which paints an unflattering picture of the shoplifting prosecution of Winona Ryder. The column's take is that the movie star is being subjected to a much harsher prosecution than anyone accuesed of similar infractions, possibly in compensation for the LA prosecutor's office high-profile bungling of other celebrity case (*cough*OJ*cough*).
From the get-go, her lawyers have insisted that she is innocent and has merely been singled out for her notoriety. While this is hardly a novel tactic in celebrity cases, the suggestion that Ryder woke up last December in a Kafka story has been reinforced by the bizarrely overzealous prosecution she has endured.
First, there was the ridiculous press conference, staged by the L.A. district attorney's office and over very strong objections from Ryder's counsel, less than 24 hours after her arrest. At the conference, police announced that video surveillance cameras had caught her cutting tags off merchandise with a pair of scissors. Then, when the grainy Zapruder-type video was released to every news outlet in the free world, all of America witnessed live footage of Winona ... shopping! Except, after seven or eight viewings, we all assumed that we were either missing something or seeing the wrong bit of tape (precisely what the jury pool will assume). Because the district attorney's office wouldn't lie about the evidence, right?
Two months later, the district attorney's office, which had by now had time to not only view the surveillance tape several thousand times but to enter it in the Sundance Film Festival, was still repeating the claim that they had videotape evidence of Ryder's crime. Only months later did it become clear at a preliminary hearing that there was no smoking-gun video, just the testimony of a single security guard who apparently saw Ryder clipping tags.