As Robert Downey Jr. sits in the L.A. County jail, he might recall the theme from Baretta —”Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” Downey should take heart: He’s not the only star to spend a little time in the slammer. A brief history of celebrity sentencing:
ROBERT MITCHUM Crime: Criminal conspiracy to possess marijuana (1949) Sentence: 60 days; reduced to 50 days for good behavior Post-incarceration employment: Went on to make dozens of classic films before he died last July
JAMES BROWN Crime: Failed to stop during police chase, assault (1988) Sentence: Six years; served 16 months Employment: Still touring at 69, the Godfather of Soul remains the hardest-working ex-con in show business.
SEAN PENN Crime: Violated parole for misdemeanor assault (1987) Sentence: 60 days; served 32 Employment: Resumed successful acting career; recently played weaselly thug in U-Turn
DAVID CROSBY Crime: Illegal possession of cocaine and a handgun (1982) Sentence: Five years; released after five months (an appeals court later threw out the conviction) Employment: Fitted with new liver, hirsute folkie now performs solo and with former partners Stills and Nash.