Iron Man and Marvel's The Avengers star Robert Downey Jr. got an early Christmas gift this year. On Christmas Eve, the actor was granted a pardon for his 1996 drug conviction from Gov. Jerry Brown. Pardoning has become a holiday tradition, with 91 other individuals also being granted clemency for minor offenses. Some of the offenses that were pardoned on Christmas Eve aren't even felonies in California anymore. Here is the full text from the California governor.

"By completion of his sentence and good conduct in the community of his residence since his release, Robert John Downey, Jr. has paid his debt to society and earned a full and unconditional pardon."

Brown spokesman Evan Westrup went onto explain that these pardons come as a way to help those who've overcome their problems pull themselves up from past transgressions. And it is reiterated by the governor himself that only those who truly earn it are granted a pardon. And Downey Jr. is one individual who has come a long way since being charged with the crime in question. And nowadays, it's hard to even imagine some of the shenanigans the actor got up to in the mid-to-late 90s now that he is one of the Disney and Marvel All-Stars.

One of the most promising young actors of the 80s Brat Pack, Robert Downey Jr. became more notorious for his criminal activities and issues with drug addition during the 90s than any movie he appeared in. In June 1996, cops pulled Robert Downey Jr. off the road. He was driving under the influence, and in possession of a gun, cocaine and heroine. A months later, he was notoriously arrested for trespassing, having passed out in a neighbor's spare bedroom. The actor spent a year in state prison, and then when onto check in and out of several rehab clinics. Robert Downey Jr. was then arrested again for Cocaine possession in Palm Springs. During the late 90s, he spent 15 months in jail, and finished his parole in 2002. In 2014, Robert Downey Jr. had this to say about his past troubles.

"Job one is get out of that cave. A lot of people do get out but don't change. So the thing is to get out and recognize the significance of that aggressive denial of your fate, come through the crucible forged into a stronger metal. Or whatever. But I don't even know if that was my experience. It's funny: five years ago, I would've made it sound like I'm conscious of my own participation in seizing the similarities. But so many things have become less certain. I swear to God. I am not my story."

Robert Downey Jr. contributes his turnaround to wife Susan Levin, whom he met while working on 2003's Gothika. The pair married in 2005. She is said to have "channelled his manic energy." Robert Downey Jr. acknowledged his past while accepting his Generation Award at this year's MTV Movie Awards. He stated the following.

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"I've grown up, I've struggled, I've failed. I've partied way too much. I begged for second chances and literally clawed my way to the top. I try to live honorably and never forget my love of the game and my friends... if a man is judged by the company he keeps, I must be doing something right."

Robert Downey Jr. doesn't like to talk about his past drug convictions and his time spent in jail. This pardon clears his name in Los Angeles. But should his past troubles be completely forgotten? Let us know if you think the actor deserves this pardon. Or if he just got off easy because he's Iron Man!

B. Alan Orange