[UPDATE] Doors' Jim Morrison Pardoned for Indecent Exposure

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Remarks by GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST to the Florida Board of Executive Clemency

Tallahassee, Florida

December 9, 2010

James Douglas Morrison – we know him as Jim Morrison – appealed the judgment and sentence he received after being convicted 40 years ago of two misdemeanors. However, he died before his appeal could be heard.

Because he us unable to state his case for clemency before this board today, I offer to do so for him.

The charges against Mr. Morrison stemmed from his alleged actions at a now-famous 1969 musical performance by The Doors in Miami. During the trial, the prosecution attempted to prove that Mr. Morrison indecently exposed himself, simulated indecent acts, and uttered profanities.

Mr. Morrison admitted to using some of the alleged profanity; however, he denied the other charges.

During the trial, some witnesses testified they saw the alleged acts for which he was charged; however, many others testified they observed the entire concert and never saw them. In fact, so many witnesses corroborated Mr. Morrison’s testimony that the judge eventually stopped the defense from presenting any more – because their collective testimony became, what is known in legal terms as, “cumulative testimony.”

Nevertheless, a jury convicted Mr. Morrison. The judge then sentenced him to six months of hard labor.

Much controversy surrounds this conviction, and not only because many witnesses testified they did not see Mr. Morrison expose himself.

Controversy also exists because Mr. Morrison was not arrested until four days after the concert. A case was brought against him only after newspaper articles recounted the alleged events at the concert, based on a complaint filed by an employee of the state attorney’s office who attended the concert.

In addition, Mr. Morrison may have been improperly prevented from presenting evidence of “community standards” of other rock performances of the era. Such testimony would have offered cultural context for the allegations against him.

Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Morrison himself did not exercise his right to remain silent. Instead, he forcefully denied the charge that he exposed himself on stage.

Mr. Morrison appealed his judgment and sentence; however, he died before the appeal was heard. His death prevented him from exercising his right to a direct appeal, a right given to every American by the United States Constitution. If his appeal had been heard, a reviewing court could have resolved the controversies surrounding his conviction.

In addition, at the time of Morrison’s death, a convicted defendant who died before his appeal was heard was entitled to have the conviction dismissed so that he was again presumed innocent. This doctrine, known as “abatement ab initio,” wiped the slate clean – as though the conviction had never taken place. A pardon corrects the fact that Mr. Morrison is now unable to take advantage of the presumption of innocence that is the cornerstone of the American criminal justice system.

The words of an appellate judge, penned a decade before Mr. Morrison’s trial, provide insight into the question before us today: When death prevents the accused from appealing his judgment, the conviction is “a nullity” and “[j]urisdiction to determine the issue of guilt or innocence is now assumed by the ultimate arbiter of human affairs.”1

In this case, guilt or innocence is in God’s hands, not ours. That is why I ask my colleagues today to pardon Jim Morrison.


[UPDATE] 12-9 3:20PM --


Florida's Clemency Board has posthumously pardoned singer Jim Morrison of The Doors for his 40-year-old conviction on indecent exposure and profanity charges.

Outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist requested the pardon Thursday. The
Clemency Board unanimously granted it.

Crist expressed doubts that Morrison actually exposed himself
during a rowdy March 1, 1969, concert in Miami's Dinner Key

Morrison was appealing the conviction when he was found dead in
a Paris bathtub in 1971.

The Doors members insist that Morrison teased the crowd, but
never actually exposed his penis. Fans have given differing
accounts in the did-he-or-didn't-he debate.

[UPDATE] 12-9 12:50 --


A woman who says she was married The Doors singer Jim Morrison says Florida's intention to pardon him for a 1969 indecent exposure conviction is a cheap political ploy.

Patricia Kennealy Morrison told The Associated Press Thursday
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 as
some claim.

She says the conviction should be expunged or the verdict
overturned as fraud rather than just pardoned.

She says the two were married in a pagan ceremony by a
Presbyterian minister about a year before he was found dead in a
Paris bathtub in 1971.

Jim Morrison was appealing the conviction when he died. Gov.
Charlie Crist planned to ask the Clemency Board for the pardon
Thursday and it is expected to pass.


Tallahassee, FL (AP) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist now has
enough votes to get the state's Executive Clemency Board to pardon
Doors singer Jim Morrison for a 1969 indecent exposure conviction.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said Wednesday she'll vote for
the pardon, giving Crist the second of two other board members he
needs for approval. Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson had
already said he would support it. Attorney General Bill McCollum
hasn't said how he'll vote.

The board will vote on the pardon Thursday.

Morrison was appealing the conviction when he was found dead in
a Paris bathtub in 1971. Crist leaves office Jan. 4.

The governor says he has doubts about whether Morrison exposed
his penis during a rowdy Miami concert on March 1, 1969.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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