Robert Downey Jr. Pardoned for 1996 Drug Conviction
California's pardon states the actor has shown 'exemplary behavior'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 24, 2015 1:31 PM CST
Actor Robert Downey Jr. was officially pardoned Thursday for a 19-year-old drug conviction.   (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – California's governor has pardoned Robert Downey Jr. for a 1996 drug conviction that sent the actor to prison. Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced Thursday that Downey was among 91 people receiving pardons. Downey was convicted of felony drug possession after he was arrested on a Los Angeles County highway and authorities found heroin, cocaine, and a pistol in his vehicle. In 1999, he was sent to prison for nearly a year after he acknowledged violating his probation. Downey's life and career have rebounded since then. Brown's website says that while a pardon doesn't erase records of a conviction, it restores voting rights and is a public proclamation that the person has demonstrated "exemplary behavior." (President Obama's clemency program, however, is taking some heat for being uneven.)