Judge to Downey: 'Keep up the good work'
INDIO, California (CNN) -- Actor Robert Downey Jr. won praise from the judge when he returned to court Tuesday to hear a probation report on his progress in a drug rehabilitation program.
"Keep up the good work," said Superior Court Judge Randall White.
"Thank you," said Downey.
"The probation report was fantastic and couldn't be better," said his attorney, James Epstein. "His career is going full board. He's going to be in a new movie with Mel Gibson shooting in April."
Downey, 36, was sent into drug rehabilitation and put on a three-year probation after a July no-contest plea to drug possession charges in a deal that has kept him out of prison.
Dressed in a purple suit and white shirt, Downey declined interviews with reporters but smiled and signed autographs after the mandatory court appearance.
"He's ready to be cured, ready for help and doing great," Epstein said.
Downey's attorney said the actor is receiving a number of offers but will resume his work schedule slowly. He will have a limited role in the television show "Ally McBeal" throughout his rehabilitation program.
He had faced one felony cocaine possession charge and one misdemeanor count of being under the influence of a controlled substance stemming from his arrest in Palm Springs, California. Prosecutors later dropped a second felony count of Valium possession.
Under Proposition 36, approved by California voters, non-violent drug offenders may qualify for treatment instead of jail time. Under the new law, drug offenders could be sent to prison if they are charged with additional drug violations or repeatedly fail to cooperate in treatment programs, according to California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Margo Bach.
Downey has been living in a 24-hour drug rehabilitation residence in a secluded Malibu estate following drug detoxification treatment at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Under his agreement, Downey is required to remain there for one year.
"The best case scenario is the case would be dismissed in July under Proposition 36," said Deputy District attorney Tamara Capone. "If Mr. Downey chooses to take a wrong step, then the case could be completely taken out under Proposition 36 and dealt with as a separate criminal case."
Capone said the success rate since the new law went into effect is only 10 percent, which makes Downey's progress exceptional.
The actor, who has battled drug addiction for years, was arrested a second time last year for being under the influence of cocaine, but prosecutors declined to file criminal charges in that case, instead allowing state corrections officials to handle it as a violation of the terms of his release from prison.
Downey remains under strict supervision, under which he is subjected to monthly drug testing and unannounced visits by his parole officers.
Downey received an Emmy nomination as best supporting actor for his role in the television series "Ally McBeal." He received a Golden Globe trophy and the Screen Actors Guild award in the same category.
Asked if Downey would attend the Oscar Awards next week, "That's up to him, he can if he wants to," said Epstein.
Downey is scheduled to appear in court July 19 for another progress report.
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