Ryder Hearing Delayed — Again

A judge on Wednesday delayed a preliminary hearing until June 3 in the shoplifting case against actress Winona Ryder, despite strong opposition from prosecutors.

Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox said the hearing to determine if Ryder will stand trial "must go" next month after being delayed several times since her arrest in December.

Ryder's attorney Mark Geragos requested the latest delay because Wednesday's hearing conflicted with his court appearance in another case involving three people accused of murdering a teen-ager.

The request "was not unreasonable or wimpy," the judge said.

Ryder did not attend the 10-minute proceeding. She was represented by attorney Shepard Kopp, who said the defense continued to investigate the allegations.

Prosecutor Julie Jurek objected to the delay.

"There's no reason to keep continuing the case," she said, arguing that the defense should be ready to proceed.

Ryder was arrested last Dec. 12 for allegedly stealing about $4,800 in clothing from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. Police said she also possessed the painkiller Oxycodone, a morphine derivative, without a prescription.

She has pleaded innocent to theft, burglary, vandalism and possession of a controlled substance.

Geragos has said Ryder was only carrying items between store departments and had a valid prescription for the drugs.

The 30-year-old actress is free on $20,000 bail and faces up to three years and eight months in prison if convicted.

She earned Oscar nominations for playing the heroines in the period films Little Women and The Age of Innocence.