Prosecutions of the Rich and Famous

On Wednesday, Winona Ryder was found guilty of felony grand theft and vandalism, after stealing $5,500 worth of designer clothes and purses from the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue last December, though she was cleared of burglary charges. Early in October, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick concluded, “There are only two possible reasons that an alleged Beverly Hills shoplifting incident has launched a felony prosecution, complete with press conferences, photo ops, and a spin campaign worthy of a summer blockbuster: Either the Los Angeles district attorney’s office is seeking payback for the O.J. Simpson trial, or District Attorney Steve Cooley is gunning for an Oscar.”