Did Winona Ryder Just Miss Out On Life In Prison?

MODS: IMHO, This is more of a legal issue worth debating than Cafe Society. Of course, do what you must if so inclined…

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17926-2002Nov6.html

  1. Was the vandalism conviction a felony?

  2. Was the burglary charge (aquittal) also a felony?

If Ryder had been convicted on all three counts, under California’s Three-Strikes would she be sentenced to 25 years to life?

This begs the current issue - is California’s Three-Strikes policy cruel and unusual punishment?

Source: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20021106/ap_wo_en_po/us_supreme_court_three_strikes_3

IMHO, mandatory life for three non-violent felony convictions is wrong and should be overturned.

each strike is a prior conviction. these would have been simultaneous convictions. The purpose of the 3 strikes law is to punish (and discourage) repeat offenders, not people who commit a crime which happens to fall under several criminal statutes. it is normal to charge someone with the most possible counts. using those as ‘strikes’ would defeat the purpose of the statute (reduce # of repeat offenders) and would surely be unconstitutional if it meant she would have been facing life in prison because her actions happened to fall under 3 different felony statutes.

now, if she does this two more times, and gets convicted two more times, she could be facing life in prison.

I’m no expert on California law.

However, judges in California have considerable discretion to not consider, in the interest of justice, an otherwise qualifying conviction as a strike.

Appellant Andrade, the Kmart shoplifter, was previously conviced of misdemeanor theft, yes. But he was also found guilty of three counts of residential burglary and two federal counts of drug transportation. In addition, he was guilty of escape from federal prison.

It is upon this history that the Three Strikes law rests.

Needless to say, Ms. Ryder could not be convicted under the Three Strikes law, even if the jury had returned guilty votes on all counts.

  • Rick

The OP seems to have been answered, but I was wondering why she cut off the security tags with scissors (the vandalism charge)? What is the purpose? She ruins the garment and then steals it?

IIRC, the vandalism charge was a misdeamor. The felony she was convicted of was the Theft charge. The Burglary she was acquitted of was a felony too. And, as has been pointed out, there was no way she was eligible for life in prison.

Winona used the scissors to cut the security tags from the clothes, so that the alarm at the door wouldn’t go off when she left without paying. If she did it correctly, the garments wouldn’t be ruined, only the security tags would. Again, IIRC, it was the security tags that were the basis of the charge.

Whether or not the three strikes law is unconsitutional should be decided on a case by case basis. Boiling it down to whether 25 to life is too much for stealing videotapes is simplistic and ignoring the habitual criminal element of the charge.

The garments were damaged – they had holes in them where the security tags had been removed. The garments were shown in court.