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Jim Morrison's case comes before clemency board today

Singer Jim Morrison leaves a Miami courtroom after he was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $500 in October 1970.

Associated Press

Singer Jim Morrison leaves a Miami courtroom after he was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $500 in October 1970.

TALLAHASSEE — Florida's Board of Clemency will consider a posthumous pardon today of rock icon Jim Morrison of the Doors, who was convicted of exposing himself during a Miami concert in 1969.

After reviewing the case last month, outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist said he wasn't convinced Morrison actually did it, that he may have been the victim of a legal system and jury more interested in sending a message in the midst of a culture war than in the facts of the case.

Although there are many photographs of the concert, none showed Morrison exposing himself. And there was no film record or other tangible evidence, Crist said. "We really don't know if the alleged act occurred," Crist said when he announced his decision to seek a pardon.

A half-dozen prosecution witnesses, including police working the concert, said they saw what they saw, but plenty of defense witnesses said they saw nothing.

A jury in 1970 convicted Morrison of indecent exposure and open profanity, though he was cleared of a felony count of lewd and lascivious behavior and public drunkenness. He was sentenced to six months in jail, but died two years later in Paris while the case was under appeal.

"He was a young guy who maybe, or maybe not, made a mistake," Crist said. "It strikes me that everyone deserves a second chance. You have to have the capacity for forgiveness."

In order to win a pardon for Morrison, Crist will need the votes of at least two of the other three Clemency Board members. Among the other members, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum have said they are undecided about the case, and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson has said he would probably vote to grant Morrison a pardon. All four of the officials leave office in January.

Jim Morrison's case comes before clemency board today 12/08/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 11:28pm]
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