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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Ruling Means Downey Avoids Bail Violation

November 29, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Robert Downey Jr., who was arrested on drug charges in Palm Springs on Saturday, will have one less legal problem: He is expected to be reclassified soon as having served a previous sentence, rather than being free on bail.

Although Downey has been out of state prison since August, the actor was technically free on bail while the courts decided whether he had served enough time.

A state appeals court ruled last summer that the trial judge had erred in calculating Downey's sentence. The actor had served his required time already, the state court decided. The state attorney general challenged the ruling, but the California Supreme Court has denied review, authorities said Tuesday.

"We will not seek any further redress," Deputy Atty. Gen. Jeffrey Kahan said.

As a result, the local sentencing judge will have no choice but to follow the decision of the appellate court and declare that Downey has finished serving his sentence, Kahan said.

Initially it was unclear whether Downey's Palm Springs arrest would result in the automatic revocation of his appeals court bail and put him back in prison. Authorities said Tuesday that issue is now moot. Downey spent a year in the state prison at Corcoran.

On Saturday, Downey was released from Palm Springs jail on $15,000 bail. He is due in court in Indio on Dec. 27. Charges stemming from his arrest Saturday night have yet to be filed.

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