How Jim Morrison Finally Got Pardoned, 39 Years After His Death
It took decades for the late Doors lead singer Jim Morrison to finally be cleared by Florida's Board of Executive Clemency after he was found guilty of exposing himself to an audience. Morrison's pardon for two misdemeanors, indecent exposure and open profanity was finally granted on Dec. 9, 2010 – 39 years after he died.
It all began at the Doors' notorious performance on March 1, 1969, at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium. Morrison allegedly pulled his pants down before 10,000 fans and simulated masturbation. He was sentenced to six months in prison, despite the fact that no photos or video of the indecent act were presented at his 1970 trial.
Morrison appealed the conviction, but died in 1971 before the matter was resolved. Years later, outgoing Florida Gov. Charlie Crist championed the belated pardon as a member of the clemency board.
"What I do know is that if someone hasn't committed a crime, that should be recognized," Crist told CNN before the vote. "We live in a civil society that understands that lasting legacy of a human being, and maybe the last act for which they may be known, is something that never occurred in the first place, it's never a bad idea to try to right a wrong."
Patricia Morrison, the singer's widow, argued instead that "they should have expunged the verdict. It should have been overturned as fraud." If Morrison were alive, she told CNN, "he would tear this pardon to shreds. It's not applicable, it's meaningless, because he didn't do anything to be pardoned for."
Soon after, Doors bandmates Robby Krieger, John Densmore and the late Ray Manzarek issued a joint statement echoing Patricia Morrison's argument.
"Four decades after the fact, with Jim an icon for multiple generations — and those who railed against him now a laughingstock — Florida has seen fit to issue a pardon," they said. "If the state of Florida and the city of Miami want to make amends for the travesty of Jim Morrison's arrest and prosecution 40 years after the fact, an apology would be more appropriate — and expunging the whole sorry matter from the record."
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