The star of this year's Christmas pardons by governor Jerry Brown may be Hollywood's Robert Downey, Jr., but some long-ago jailed drug offenders and a manslaughter convict of San Diego's justice system are also among the celebrants.
“He has lived an honest and upright life, exhibited good moral character, and conducted himself as a law-abiding citizen,” said Brown's boiler-plate pardon of Downey, who was just inducted into California’s hall of fame in October.
According to a Sacramento Bee report, Downey gave $5000 to Brown's 2014 reelection bid and $50,000 to a Brown-favored charter school in Oakland.
Potential pardonees must have stayed out of prison for ten years and had a clean record during that time, the account says.
Downey did a 15-month stretch in the state slammer for a 1996 conviction of possessing a controlled substance and a concealed weapon, along with a DUI with priors.
Among ex–San Diego miscreants on Brown's lucky list of 91 are Thomas Danieli of New York, who was found guilty of manslaughter here in 1965.
"Specifically, Mr. Danieli hit a car when attempting to pass another vehicle, killing the passenger in his car and the other driver. He served three years probation. He was discharged on January 4, 1969, having completed his sentence."
The marijuana defendant on Brown’s San Diego pardon list did more than a year in prison, according to his pardon document.
John DeLude, who now lives in Michigan, was sentenced in June 1980 for the crime of "planting or cultivating marijuana." According to Brown's proclamation, he served 15 months behind bars before completing his sentence in October 1981.
Ohio resident Jonathon Sells drew 180 days in jail and three years’ probation for possessing a controlled substance for sale; he was discharged in December of 1991.
Montanan Roy Gallup "stole clocks and other items from a warehouse" and got 240 days in jail and five years’ probation before being discharged in August 1994.
Darrell Munson, who lives in Utah, did 22 months in state prison plus parole for grand theft in 1969; discharged in June 1972.
George Wright, now of New Hampshire, stole a car and did four years’ probation ending in 1969; and Mississippi's Randall Starbuck got eight months behind bars in 1992 for receiving stolen property.