Downey draws 180-day term

Judge's sentence ends comparative leniency of courts

Oscar-nominated actor Robert Downey Jr. was sentenced Monday to a 180-day jail term after admitting in court that he had taken illegal drugs — a violation of the probation he’d been placed under in November 1996 after pleading no contest to drug possession and other charges.

Malibu Municipal Court Judge Lawrence Mira’s sentence ended the comparative leniency Downey had received at the court’s hands, which had saved the thesp from jail time and allowed him to continue to work.

Downey (“Chaplin,” “Natural Born Killers”) did spend three months in a drug rehab center after his trial for drug and weapon possession, and for driving under the influence of drugs.

Downey had been originally arrested in 1996 when police stopped him for speeding and found crack, cocaine, heroin and a handgun in his pickup truck.

Mira had previously altered Downey’s probation so the actor could continue to make movies.

The probation was revoked Oct. 17, after Downey’s drug counselor told the court the actor had not stayed free of drugs and alcohol.

It’s not clear how Downey’s jail term will interfere with his scheduled work on the DreamWorks feature “In Dreams,” with Annette Bening and Aidan Quinn, said to be about to start shooting. A DreamWorks spokesman reached Monday had no comment.

Downey recently finished work on the Warner Bros. project “U.S. Marshals,” a sequel to the “The Fugitive.”

Since his arrest, Downey worked on several films, including “Two Girls and a Guy,” “One Night Stand” and “The Gingerbread Man.” He received an Oscar nomination for his performance in “Chaplin.”

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