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Ryder Prosecution Isn't a Showcase for the D.A.

October 22, 2002

As the director in the district attorney's office with oversight over the Winona Ryder case, I am shocked and dismayed at "Ryder Shoplifting Case Steals the Scene" by Joel Mowbray (Commentary, Oct. 7). The district attorney's office has sought neither publicity nor special treatment, inside or outside the courtroom, in the prosecution of the Ryder case. Any suggestion of "celebrity justice" should be refocused on those who seek the publicity and not on the prosecutorial agency that evaluates cases in an evenhanded manner regardless of a defendant's standing in the community.

The L.A. County district attorney's office tries cases in the courtroom, not in the press. The defendant was held to answer after the preliminary hearing, when the judge found that there was sufficient evidence to hold the defendant to answer for the crimes charged. Mowbray chose to ignore the evidence presented in court and to suggest that the facts are other than those presented. The prosecution of this case has everything to do with justice and nothing to do with politics.

Janice L. Maurizi

Director, Branch and Area

Operations, Region I

District Attorney's Office

L.A. County

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