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No Verdict in Ryder Jury's Day 1

November 06, 2002|Anna Gorman | Times Staff Writer

Jurors in the Winona Ryder shoplifting trial deliberated five hours Tuesday without reaching a verdict.

The jurors, who selected an aerospace engineer as foreman, are considering whether the Oscar-nominated actress should be convicted of grand theft, burglary and vandalism, for which she could receive up to three years in state prison.

The jury, which includes film producer Peter Guber, is due back in the Beverly Hills courthouse today at 10 a.m. to resume deliberations. The six-man, six-woman panel sent no messages to the court during the day and asked no questions.

Ryder is accused of walking out of Saks Fifth Avenue in December with more than $5,500 worth of unpaid merchandise.

Meanwhile Tuesday, the state's 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that Superior Court Judge Elden Fox erred in refusing to make public written questionnaires that the jurors filled out before being selected.

The court declared 3 to 0 that Fox failed to follow the 1st Amendment, which it said clearly gives the public the right of access to the jury selection process. Though some information can be excluded, such as jurors' names and certain private data, Fox "has not identified any such interest that justifies a complete denial of access to the completed questionnaires," the court ruled. The court ordered Fox to release the questionnaires by Thursday afternoon or file a motion in opposition by Nov. 11.

The appellate ruling was in response to legal papers filed by The Times, Associated Press and Los Angeles Daily Journal. The court ruled last week that Fox erred in denying access to several motions and transcripts.

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