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Appeals court rules against latest Downey furlough

Downey is serving six months in jail for violating his probation on drug charges   
March 6, 1998
Web posted at: 12:28 p.m. EST (1728 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Robert Downey Jr.'s new movie, "U.S. Marshals," comes out Friday, but the jailed actor will not. An appeals court ruling blocked Downey from being released from jail for the day to work at a Hollywood studio on another film.

Thursday's ruling by the California Court of Appeals came after Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block contested the release order issued by Malibu Municipal Court Judge Lawrence Mira. It would have allowed Downey to go to Paramount Studios to do post-production work on "In Dreams."

Under a lower court order, the Oscar-nominated actor has already taken three daylong furloughs, going twice to Paramount and once to Warner Bros. in the past two months while he has been serving six months for violating probation on drug charges.

Mira, the judge who sentenced Downey, had given Downey permission to leave the Twin Towers Correctional Facility under sheriff's deputy guard as long as the actor paid the costs. Downey was docked jail credit for the days he was out.

Mira, in explaining his reasoning, said the outings seemed to boost Downey's self-esteem, maybe helping him shake his drug addiction.

Sheriff complained of 'capricious' furlough

But the sheriff's department complained that Mira acted "arbitrarily, capriciously and in excess of the court's jurisdiction."

"The sheriff's department is pleased with this decision," spokeswoman Angie Pruett said. "As a result, Robert Downey Jr. will not be going to Paramount studios tomorrow."

Downey's attorney, Ira Reiner, was not immediately available for comment.

The 32-year-old actor was sentenced in November 1996 to three years probation after pleading no contest to possessing cocaine and heroin, carrying a concealed weapon and driving under the influence of drugs.

The son of filmmaker Robert Downey, he was nominated for an Academy Award for his title role in the 1992 film "Chaplin."

Reuters contributed to this report.


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