F~A~R~V~A-Yankee Northern Allfather
2010-12-10 13:48:16 UTC
It comes a day after what would have been The Doors frontman's 67th
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
By BRENDAN FARRINGTON, SUZETTE LABOY
The Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Forty years after Jim Morrison was convicted of
exposing himself at a wild Miami concert, this is the end: Florida's
Clemency Board, egged on by departing Gov. Charlie Crist, pardoned The
Doors' long-dead singer Thursday.
Some people who were at the Miami show March 1, 1969, insist even today
that he exposed himself, though others in the audience and Morrison's
bandmates contend he was just teasing the crowd and only pretended to do
the deed. Crist, tuned in to the controversy by a Doors fan, said there
was enough doubt about what happened at the Dinner Key Auditorium to
justify a pardon.
The board, which consists of Crist and a three-member Cabinet, voted
unanimously to pardon Morrison as they granted several other pardons
Thursday. At the hearing, the governor called the convictions a "blot"
on the record of an accomplished artist for "something he may or may not
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 and negated his sentence.
"In this case the guilt or innocence is in God's hands, not ours," Crist
Morrison had received a six-month jail sentence =E2=80" never served
=E2=80" and a $500 fine for the 1970 convictions, which carried
consequences for the band. Ray Manzarek, The Doors' keyboard player,
said Miami was supposed to be the start of a 20-city tour, but every
venue canceled after Morrison's arrest.
"We had the mandate of heaven, and I think at that moment, he lost the
mandate of heaven," Manzarek said. "In the recording studio, the magic
stayed, but I think at that moment in Miami, the live performance magic
left for a little while and then came back intermittently."
Morrison's appeals were never resolved. He was found dead in a Paris
bathtub in 1971 at age 27.
Manzarek and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger supported the pardon because
they say Morrison never exposed himself, though they agreed Florida's
move will have little affect on Morrison's wild, outsized, drug-addled
rock 'n' roll image.
"Jim's legacy is one of Dionysian madness and frenzy and of a chaotic
American poet. I don't think that the Miami episode has altered his
image one iota," Manzarek said.
The pardon isn't enough for Patricia Kennealy Morrison, who says she
married Morrison in a ceremony that was never made official. She wanted
the convictions expunged and called the pardon "a complete cheap,
cynical, political ploy."
"I have a real problem with the semantics of a pardon. 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.
Kennealy Morrison says she exchanged vows with Morrison in a Celtic
pagan ceremony. Morrison left his entire estate to another woman, Pamela
Courson, a longtime girlfriend who was with him when he died. Courson
died in 1974.
Kennealy Morrison said Morrison's convictions led to his demise, and
that of the band. She said he felt like he "had been made a scapegoat of
the counterculture movement."
"He cared about it. It affected him deeply. In fact, I think it was one
of the contributory causes of his death, actually. It certainly
destroyed The Doors, pretty much. They didn't perform so much as a group
after Miami, after the verdict came through," she said.
Manzarek and Krieger said Morrison's main interest in appealing the case
was avoiding jail time.
"He wouldn't give a (expletive)" about a pardon, Krieger said. "He would
think it was old news."
Here's what most people who were at the concert agree on: The Doors went
on stage late. The auditorium was oversold and wasn't air conditioned.
Morrison was drunk and stopped in the middle of songs with an
anti-authority, profanity-riddled rant.
A live lamb was brought on stage at one point, and Morrison also grabbed
a police officer's hat and threw it in the crowd. The singer took off
his shirt and fiddled with his belt, and fans poured onto the stage.
"There were 100 photos offered in evidence at the trial, photos of
everything =E2=80" Jim with the lamb, Jim with the hat, on the stage
collapsing, riot in the audience. Not one photo of Jim's magnificent
member," said Manzarek.
"It never actually happened. It was mass hypnosis," he said.
Krieger added: "Nobody would like to have that charge hanging over their
head even if they are dead. I'm sure his family would be happy to see
that go, especially since it never happened."
While Morrison denied exposing himself, he defended the use of nudity in
theater even after his arrest. And he never toned down his lifestyle.
The fact that Morrison didn't change his life is exactly why he
shouldn't have been pardoned, said retired Miami police sergeant Angel
Lago, who came to Tallahassee to speak against the pardon. While he
wasn't on the police force at the time of the concert, he said a friend
testified at the trial that Morrison exposed himself. He firmly said his
friend wouldn't have lied under oath.
"The man is not worthy of this. I don't care if he was a poet, I don't
care if he walked on water," Largo told reporters during a break in the
Crist, a Republican-turned-independent, began considering a pardon for
Morrison in 2007 after fan David Diamond of Dayton, Ohio, contacted him,
and began pursuing it after he lost a bid for U.S. Senate last month. He
steps down as governor next month.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Jim Morrison pardoned(02:14)
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