By Khaleda Rahman For

Officially off the naughty list! California’s governor pardons Robert Downey Jr. for 1996 drug conviction that sent actor to prison

  • Jerry Brown’s office announced Downey was among 91 receiving pardons
  • Actor was convicted of felony drug possession after being arrested on a Los Angeles County highway
  • He was sent to prison in 1999 after he admitted to violating his probation

California’s governor has pardoned Robert Downey Jr. for a 1996 drug conviction that sent the actor to prison for more than a year.

Governor Jerry Brown’s office announced Thursday that Downey, 50, was among 91 people receiving Christmas pardons for criminal convictions after showing they had rehabilitated themselves.

Downey was convicted of felony drug possession after he was stopped for speeding on the Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles County in June 1996 and authorities found heroin, cocaine and a pistol in his vehicle.

In 1999, he was sent to prison after he acknowledged violating his probation. He served a year and three months.

Now, he has become perhaps Hollywood’s greatest success story for career and addiction rehabilitation.

Since 2008, Disney has had the actor portray Iron Man in a series of wildly successful blockbuster movies, including The Avengers, based on the Marvel comic books.

He is also a two-time Oscar nominee for his roles in 1992’s Chaplin and 2008’s Tropic Thunder

And in October, Downey was also inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Governor Brown.

Perhaps a tongue-in-cheek nod to his early Christmas present, Downey took to social media this afternoon to say: ‘You’re only on the naughty list if you get caught… #HappyAlmostChristmas’.

The governor’s website says that while the pardon doesn’t erase records of a conviction, it does restore voting rights and is a public proclamation that the person has demonstrated ‘exemplary behavior.’

A proclamation released by Brown’s office today says Downey obtained the pardon after getting a judge to issue a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

The process showed that since his release, Downey has ‘lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character and conducted himself as a law-abiding citizen,’ the proclamation adds.

A statement on the website adds: ‘The individuals granted pardons all completed their sentences and have been released from custody for more than a decade without further criminal activity.

‘A gubernatorial pardon may be granted to people who have demonstrated exemplary behavior and have lived productive and law-abiding lives following their conviction.

‘Pardons are not granted unless they are earned.’

An email to Downey’s publicist, Allison Garman, wasn’t immediately returned.

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