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Jim Morrison pardoned

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Jim Morrison Pardoned for Indecent Exposure Conviction

Published December 09, 2010

| Associated Press

  • jim%20morrison.jpg


This Sept. 28, 1963 photo released by the Florida Dept of State archives, shows the arrest mug and record of singer Jim Morrison. Morrison was arrested following a football game at Florida State University. (AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jim Morrison was posthumously pardoned Thursday for a 1969 indecent exposure conviction in Florida, a move a woman who said she was married to The Doors lead singer called a cheap political ploy.

Morrison, a Florida native, was appealing the conviction when he was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971 at age 27. The pardon came a day after the singer would have turned 67.

Outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist asked for the pardon, which the Clemency Board granted unanimously. Crist said he doubts Morrison actually exposed his penis during a rowdy March 1, 1969 concert at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium. He and a three-member Cabinet serve as the Clemency Board. The surviving members of The Doors supported the pardon.

Crist at the hearing called the conviction a "blot" on the record of an accomplished artist for "something he may or may not have done." He said Morrison died before he was afforded the chance to present his appeal, so Crist was doing that for him. Board members pointed out several times that they couldn't retry the case but that the pardon forgave Morrison, as others were absolved of their convictions on Thursday.

"In this case the guilt or innocence is in God's hands, not ours," Crist said.

Patricia Kennealy Morrison told The Associated Press before the board's action that she's not pleased with the pardon and doesn't think the late singer would be either because he didn't expose himself on stage. The conviction should be expunged or the verdict overturned rather than just pardoned, she said.

"The pardon says that all his suffering and all that he went through during the trial, everything both of us went through, was negated," she said.

Earlier, when asked about expunging Morrison's record or overturning the conviction, Crist said, "The option before us is the pardon or not."

Still, it's not enough, Kennealy Morrison said.

"He felt and he expressed to me on numerous occasions that he had been made a scapegoat of the counterculture movement," Kennealy Morrison said. "He was out there doing what he did, making himself a really easy target because he felt very strongly about it. Unfortunately they decided to go after him for it. It was a complete cheap, cynical, political ploy. That's the way I feel about the pardon."

Kennealy Morrison exchanged vows with Morrison in a Celtic pagan ceremony overseen by a licensed minister, she said. The marriage was valid, though she says she never filed the paperwork to put it in the books. Morrison left his entire estate to another woman, Pamela Courson, a longtime girlfriend who was with him in Paris when he died. Courson died in 1974.

Surviving band members say a drunken Morrison teased the crowd, but never exposed himself.

"It never actually happened. It was mass hypnosis," Ray Manzarek, The Doors' keyboard player, said in an interview before the vote.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.c.../#ixzz17gc6aMOw

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Even though I'm sure the state of Florida has bigger fish to fry, anyone who receives a pardon for a ridiculous charge or conviction should be made news. At least Morrison's family can put it behind them - criminal charges can leave a dark stain on families, you know?

No doubt the Morrison-worshippers* out there will be delirious with this news. Now their Most Holy Jim is up there with the company of Galileo, the Birmingham Six, Max Mosley, Ruben "Hurricane Carter etc. I can't wait to hear how Ray "Jim was a shaman" Manzarek will wax lyrical on this development (Ray being St. Paul to Jim's Christ).

On a lighter note, one of my favourite quotes from Jim Morrison's 1970 trial is from John Densmore's insightful autobiography, Riders On The Storm (1990). On pg.231, he describes when Ray Manzarek was on the witness stand in the Miami courtroom:

The Prosecutor: "Did you see Mr. Morrison's organ?"

Ray: "No, I didn't, your honor, but I play organ!"

The courtroom audience burst out with a big laugh.



*Btw: I'd be more a Morrison-believer than a worshipper. Love The Doors. Jim was a truly visionary artist and produced enough quality work to be worthy of fame, but he was also an alcoholic, volatile, self-destructive twat who wrote as much awful, pretentious waffle as the transcendent poetic lines he left for us to enjoy.

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It would have been better if they just dropped the charges altogether since there was never any evidence that he even did anything to start with. In any event, it's all water under the bridge and has been for a very, very long time. Strange that it even came back up at all.

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As I read in one article it was a fan who instigated the pardon.

The fellow who runs the Doors Collectors web site, Kerry, has been circulating petitions and beating the drums on this issue (so to speak) since at least '98, with three different governors. Kudos to him for his dedication.

A lot of people have said it was a waste of time, but many cases get pardoned every year - a whole day is set aside for it in Florida. The Morrison business didn't take that long. He was wrongly convicted, whereas most of the people who came before the Clemency Board that day were admittedly guilty of, for example, killing an innocent person while driving drunk. They asked for a pardon so they could own guns again (seriously) and have their voting rights restored. Jim is as deserving, if not more so, than the 80 or so other people pardoned that day.

The charges against him were bogus, and the conviction and threat of a harsh jail sentence (8 months hard labor) clearly had a detrimental effect on Jim, and may have even played a role in his death at a young age.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was reading some articles about this and many legal eagles said that a pardon was the same thing as dropped because an expunged record stays on file, whereas a pardon dumps it for good.

If that's true, I find it odd Doors and family would be upset. As people pointed out, if the Doors or Morrison's wanted it expunged they could have gone through the proper channels, they didn't. :huh:

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