Pubdate: Fri, 25 Dec 2015
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press
Note: Seldom prints LTEs from outside it's circulation area.


SACRAMENTO (AP) - The governor of California pardoned Robert Downey 
Jr. on Thursday for a nearly 20-year-old felony drug conviction that 
led to the Oscar-nominated actor's imprisonment for roughly a year.

Downey was among 91 people granted pardons for criminal convictions 
after demonstrating they had rehabilitated themselves and been out of 
custody for at least 10 years, Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced.

The pardon does not erase records of a conviction but is a public 
proclamation that the person has remained out of trouble and 
demonstrated exemplary behavior, according to material on Brown's website.

Downey, once a courthouse mainstay for a series of drug-related 
arrests, has become one of Hollywood's greatest success stories for 
career and addiction rehabilitation.

Since 2008, Downey has portrayed "Iron Man" in a series of Disney 
blockbuster films, including "The Avengers," based on the Marvel comic books.

The 50-year-old actor is a two-time Oscar nominee for his roles in 
1992's "Chaplin" and 2008's "Tropic Thunder."

Downey's legal troubles began in June 1996 when he was stopped for 
speeding on Pacific Coast Highway and authorities found cocaine, 
heroin and a pistol in his vehicle.

In 1999, he was sent to prison for roughly a year after he 
acknowledged violating his probation.

Downey obtained the pardon after getting a judge to issue a 
certificate of rehabilitation, according to a proclamation released 
by Brown's office.

The Democratic governor, a former Jesuit seminarian, has made it a 
practice to issue pardons around Christian holidays.

The state's longest-serving governor has now issued 1,087 pardons, 
including 683 in the past five years and 404 during his first eight 
years in office from 1975-1983, according to his office.

Most of those pardoned Thursday were convicted of drug and property 
crimes, though three were convicted of arson, one of kidnapping and 
one of vehicular manslaughter.
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