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Governor Jerry Brown Pardons Robert Downey Jr Along With 90 Others

Robert Downey Jr
Credit: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

New York born actor Robert Downey Jr., who is perhaps most well recognized in recent years for his role as Iron Man, has been pardoned along with 90 other former criminals by the governor of California, Jerry Brown.

Downey, who is now 50 years old, served over a year in prison back in the 1990s after he was convicted on weapons and drug charges.

Now, more than 20 years later, Governor Brown has formally recognized the Sherlock Holmes actor’s rehabilitation — recognition which the Mercury Times reports to have come just months after Brown selected the Hollywood star as a member of the California Hall of Fame. Earlier in the year, back in May, the Tropic Thunder actor donated over $50,000 to the Oakland School for the Arts on behalf of none other than Governor Brown.

Brown helped found the Oakland School for the Arts back in 2000 when he was mayor of the city of Oakland.

State Fair Political Practices Commission records show that Downey’s donation to the charter school–which amounted to $50,401–is the largest behested payment made this year by an individual on behalf of the governor.

Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Gov. Brown, indicated that the donation played no part in influencing the governor’s decision to pardon the reformed actor while noting that the governor can only issue a pardon for an individual after a Superior Court judge has issued that individual a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

Downey’s conviction on drug and weapons charges stems his June 1996 arrest in which authorities discovered drugs and a gun in his car following a traffic stop. According to the authorities, Downey–who was pulled over speeding–was found to be in possession of heroin, cocaine and a pistol.

After violating his probation, the Weird Science actor, who is a father of three, was sent to prison in 1999.

Of those who received pardons, most were convicted of crimes pertaining to property and drugs, the New York Times reported. However, one of the individuals was convicted of kidnapping, another vehicular manslaughter and three others were convicted of arson.

One of the rehabilitated criminals was convicted of stealing a car with a BB gun.While a pardon won’t erase one’s criminal history, it does restore an individual’s right to vote, according to the governor’s website.

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