A Clean and Sober Downey Is Released

07/22/2002 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Because the court determined that he's been substance-free for the past 14 months, drug charges against Robert Downey Jr. were dismissed Friday by Riverside County (Calif.) Superior Court Judge Randall D. White, who also ended the actor's probation, reports the Associated Press. Downey, 37, had been sentenced exactly a year ago to 12 months in a live-in rehabilitation center and three years' probation after pleading no-contest to cocaine possession and being under the influence following his November 2000 arrest in a Palm Springs hotel room. Jim Epstein, an attorney for the Oscar-nominated actor (1992's "Chaplin") and former "Ally McBeal" regular told the news service that his client was "absolutely ecstatic and very optimistic he'll be able to stay sober and get movie parts again." Deputy District Attorney Kevin Shek, however, was far from starstruck, arguing in favor of Downey's probationary period being extended for six additional months while the charges remained in place, according to the AP. "He did well, but the law allows an additional six months of aftercare," Shek said. "That would have been appropriate given his history of substance abuse." (Downey first began making headlines with his behavior in 1996, when police found cocaine, heroin and a pistol in his car.) Judge White denied Shek's request.

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