That's the question court watchers bandied about Tuesday morning when Winona Ryder was inexplicably MIA from a Beverly Hills courtroom.
She was supposed to be on hand for a hearing to set yet another new trial date for her oft-delayed shoplifting case. The judge was also going to rule on whether to honor a prosecution request to drop a felony drug count against the embattled Mr. Deeds star.
But Ryder was a no-show. After huddling in his chambers with attorneys for both sides, Judge Elden Fox announced that Winona didn't make it because of an "unusual circumstance."
No word on exactly what constituted "unusual." The judge didn't elaborate. And neither did the DA nor Ryder's legal team.
The judge did order all parties--Winona included--to reconvene back at the courthouse on Wednesday. That's when Fox will announce that new trial date and likely strike the drug charge from the slate of felonies facing Ryder.
This isn't the first time Ryder has skipped a court date. She bailed on a hearing back in June when her camp said she suffered a broken arm after accidentally getting bonked by a predatory TV camera crew. And that came after her defense team sought four earlier delays.
Subsequent postponements were pinned on a plea-bargain deal that never panned out and scheduling conflicts with the judge and Winona's lead attorney, Mark Geragos (who was also absent from court this morning), both of whom are in the middle of other trials.
Last week, after the latest postponement, the DA's office announced it was, pending Fox's approval, seeking to rescind a count of unlawful possession of the prescription painkiller oxycodone "in the interests of justice." Apparently, Ryder's lawyers came up with a sworn statement from a defense witness saying the actress had a reason to carry the painkiller, a generic form of Percoset.
When she makes it back to court and the trial starts, Ryder, who turns 31 on October 29, still faces three counts--felony grand theft, second-degree burglary and vandalism--stemming from her alleged shoplifting spree last December at the Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue. She has pleaded innocent to all charges and is currently free on $20,000 bail.
Ever since Ryder's arrest last December, Geragos has maintained that the two-time Oscar nominee had a prescription for the oxycodone. Geragos has also insisted that his client was unfairly targeted because of her celebrity status and recently said he turned down a plea deal with prosecutors because Ryder did nothing wrong. (The two sides had been trying to hammer out a settlement for several weeks, but talks broke down in mid-September.)
If Ryder is convicted of the shoplifting charges, she could get up to three years in prison, though it's likely that she'd probably end up receiving probation instead.