When Winona Ryder last went to court, the prosecution dropped the drug charge against her. Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle explained that the prescription came from a doctor.
When Ryder was arrested for shoplifting at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills, she was caught with a painkiller called Endocet, in the same drug family as Percocet and Vicodin. Dr. Clifford Bernstein says they are powerful narcotics. He says, “They’re all in the morphine family.”
Ryder’s defense team has told “CJ” that Endocet had been given to Ryder by her doctor for pain from a previously broken arm. But now “CJ has learned that the same drug could provide relief in the way of a reasonable defense on the shoplifting charges.”
If Ryder was high and unaware of what she was doing when she walked out of Saks, one high profile Hollywood attorney, Tony Brooklier, says that could provide a reasonable defense. He says, “If you don’t have that specific intent or the jury has a reasonable doubt because of voluntary intoxication, the jury has to acquit.”
Dr. Bernstein treats patients for addiction to opiates like the kind Ryder was taking, and he’s well aware of the drug’s effects; changes in behavior, trouble concentrating, and memory loss.
Nick Rhuby was one of his patients. He became addicted to the painkiller oxycodone following a construction accident. He says, “I did all kinds of things I normally wouldn’t do. My dad would ask me to do something, I’d forget in the middle of doing what I was doing.”
Ryder’s attorneys claim she had no intent to steal. The security camera video shows her talking with clerks, they had her credit card, and she had already charged some items. So was Winona under the influence of painkillers at the time? We don’t know, but just by watching the security tape, she could be seen on tape fumbling and dropping clothes.
Is it possible she just walked out not realizing she hadn’t paid? Rhuby says, “If you were shopping, you could be looking at one thing and put it on an arm turn, and looking at something else and forget what was here and not remember what was here.”
And if the defense can prove there was no intent to steal, Brooklier says, “It’s an acquittal. It could work.”