On 6 November 31-year-old actress Winona Ryder was convicted of shoplifting ,500 worth of clothing and accessories from the posh Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills. Her reasons for attempting to steal the goods, despite being one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood, remain unclear; she may, like the troubled young people she often plays, merely have been doing it for kicks.
Today's cartoon by Mike Peters makes fun of Ms Ryder's recent escapade. He imagines Ryder in the witness box,swheresthe court clerk is administering the oath on the Bible that is customary before a person gives testimony. The words of the oath are: "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" Before the clerk gets very far, he must ask Ms Ryder to return the Bible, which he notices she is slipping under her jacket.
In reality Ryder never testified at the trial. The prosecuting attorney cannot question the accused, as the US Constitution forbids self-incrimination. If, however, the defense attorney chooses to put the accused on the stand (i.e. to speak in her own defense), then the prosecutor gets a turn to ask questions. Thus the legal counsel for the accused often prefers to keep his client off the stand, so as to rule out any possibility of damaging cross-examination.