BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - A judge commended Winona Ryder on Monday for completing 480 hours of community service at a hospital as part of her sentence on a shoplifting conviction.
Superior Court Judge Elden Fox told the 31-year-old actress during a brief court appearance that she can return to her career, and that he wouldn't object to her filming outside California, or even outside the United States.
"I want you to continue what you have been doing," said Fox, noting that he'd received positive reports on her progress. He also told her to continue therapy and to return to court Oct. 10 for a progress report.
Ryder didn't speak during the hearing other than to acknowledge the date of her return to court.
The actress, who was arrested Dec. 12, 2001, during a shopping trip to the Beverly Hills store, is on three years' probation for felony grand theft and vandalism.
On Dec. 6, 2002, the judge imposed a $2,700 fine, a restitution fine of $1,000 to the court and restitution of $6,355 to Saks Fifth Avenue. A probation report said all payments had been made.
The judge left one issue unresolved: Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle said Saks Fifth Avenue wanted the court to destroy the thousands of dollars worth of shoplifted merchandise.
"It seems a waste to destroy it," said Ryder's lawyer, Mark Geragos, suggesting the items could be donated to a worthy cause. "It seems silly to take thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and burn them in a bonfire."
The judge said there was concern the items would be used to benefit Ryder, saying he would decide later if they could go to a charity.
Fox said Ryder completed all of her community service at the City of Hope medical center in Duarte on March 11.
Geragos said Ryder has decided to continue her volunteer work there. She established important relationships with sick children, the lawyer said, "and it has been an amazingly positive experience for her."
Ryder also is taking part in therapy with Dr. Heather Krell at the University of California, Los Angeles. The court had ordered the actress to undergo psychological and drug counseling.
"It was reported by Dr. Krell that the probationer actively participates, is motivated to improve and is progressing as expected," the probation report said.
A probation report that the court released when Ryder was sentenced cited an investigation that found she had received 37 medications from 20 doctors between January 1996 and December 1998.
Ryder had several prescription drugs in her possession when she was arrested. A drug charge was filed but eventually was dropped after a doctor said he had prescribed the medication.
Ryder's films include "Girl, Interrupted" and "Mr. Deeds." She received Oscar nominations for "Little Women" and "The Age of Innocence."