Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty
The Doors during a 1968 press conference at Heathrow Airport, London. Left to right: drummer John Densmore, keyboard player Ray Mansarek, vocalist Jim Morrison and guitarist Robby Krieger.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist lost his bid for U.S. senate earlier in the month and in January he'll be on his way to life as a private citizen, but one of his last acts as Florida's chief executive will be to submit Jim Morrison's name to state's clemency board.
As The Hill reported earlier in this month, Crist has been mulling the decision for weeks. But, yesterday, he told the New York Times he had made his decision:
“I’ve decided that today,” Mr. Crist said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “I’ve decided to do it, for the pure and simple reason that I just think it’s the right thing to do. In some ways it seems like a tragic conclusion to a young man’s life to have maybe this be a lasting legacy, where we’re not even sure that it actually occurred. The more that I’ve read about the case and the more I get briefed on it, the more convinced I am that maybe an injustice has been done here.”
The Doors' lead man and rock 'n' roll legend was convicted on charges of profanity and indecent exposure in 1970. The charges stemmed from a wild 1969 performance in Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium. What really happened there has become lore.
The Hill spoke to Dave Diamond, a Doors fan who has been advocating for a pardon for years. He said Crist is the first governor to give the case a serious look. Diamond, who has amassed an 11-part video on YouTube explaining the case, says that Jim Morrison was drunk that night and he did take off his shirt, but there was never any exposure.
The Hill adds:
Numerous sound recordings from the show exist, for example, but Morrison’s defenders say none of the scores of photographs from the show prove the exposure charge.
In his interview with the Times, Crist seems to agree:
Mr. Crist said no documentary evidence presented at the singer’s trial showed Morrison exposing himself, and he expressed regret that Morrison had died before he could present his appeal...
“My heart bleeds for he and his family that this may not have even ever happened, yet it’s unfortunately currently part of his record,” Mr. Crist said.
The case will now go to Florida's Board of Executive Clemency, which meets Dec. 9th. For Morrison to be pardoned, it will need Crist's consent and the OK of two of the four board members.