Lovable scamp Robert Downey Jr. received a full pardon today:
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.
Does Downey Jr. deserve a pardon? Not in my opinion, but he's always been given a pass for crimes that would have sent a poor person of color to jail for a decade or more. He basically spent about four years completely out of control and was given numerous "second chances" that, again, would never have gone to someone else.
And that's the real problem here because you want to give people a break. You want to take a non-violent offender and give them an opportunity to turn their life around and get help. The problem is, our system takes people of color and throws them in prison. Downey Jr. was supposed to serve three years in prison for what he did, but he only served a year, got out, got a job, got high numerous times, and didn't have to go back to prison and serve those extra two years. How many people of color have even had a remotely similar experience with the California penal system? This same system gives Robert Downey Jr. seventeen or eighteen chances, turns a blind eye to felony possession of narcotics and gives him a pardon. When you go back through his records, you come away with the sense that, as soon as someone recognized him, they tried to give him a pass. That's shameful.
If he didn't have the money, he'd have never gotten a pardon today. That's what's broken with our system.