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California governor pardons Robert Downey Jr. for 1990s drug conviction

LOS ANGELES - California Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday pardoned actor Robert Downey Jr. for drug and weapon offenses committed in the 1990s, following the entertainer's request for clemency.

LOS ANGELES - California Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday pardoned actor Robert Downey Jr. for drug and weapon offenses committed in the 1990s, following the entertainer's request for clemency.

Downey was convicted in 1996 of possession of a controlled substance, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle with a prior conviction, driving under the influence with prior convictions and being under the influence of a controlled substance, according to the governor's pardon.

Downey served one year and three months in prison and several years on parole and probation, with his case discharged in 2002 after he completed the terms of his sentence.

The actor's legal troubles gave him a reputation as one of Hollywood's so-called "bad boys," threatening to derail his career after he had earned an Oscar nomination for playing Charlie Chaplin in the 1992 movie "Chaplin."

Downey in the last decade has re-emerged as one of the most popular stars in Hollywood, holding the title role in the "Iron Man" superhero movie franchise and winning another Oscar nomination for his role in the 2008 comedy "Tropic Thunder."

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The pardon signed by Brown said the 50-year-old Downey in October obtained a Los Angeles court order "evidencing that since his release from custody he has lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character and conducted himself as a law-abiding citizen."

A governor's pardon in California allows a felon to regain certain rights, such as the ability to serve on a jury. Aside from its legal ramifications, a pardon can also help a recipient's public image. 

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