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Arts and Entertainment

Robert Downey, Jr. Granted Christmas Eve Pardon By The Governor

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Actor Robert Downey, Jr. got an early Christmas present this year from California Governor Jerry Brown.

A pardon proclamation by Governor Brown—one of 91 issued on Christmas Eve—states that in October a judge declared that Downey "has lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character, and conducted himself as a law-abiding citizen." By earning the Certificate of Rehabilitation, Downey was submitted for consideration of a pardon.

"Robert Downey, Jr. has paid his debt to society and earned a full unconditional pardon," the statement continued.

Downey was convicted in 1996 after he was pulled over for speeding down Sunset Boulevard and caught with heroin, cocaine and an unloaded handgun. He had a variety of other run-ins with the law in the following years. After serving over a year in prison, he completed his parole at the end of 2002 and says he has been drug-free since 2003.

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The pardon is largely symbolic and does not scrub Downey's criminal record, but it does restore some rights. Brown has made it a tradition to grant pardons to mainly nonviolent offenders on Christmas Eve—according to The Sacramento Bee he has granted 683 since 2011.

Downey himself hasn't released a statement on the pardon, but he did tweet this earlier this morning: