Florida to Pardon Jim Morrison

He was an American rock sensation, a native Floridian who helped 'The Doors' gain international prominence in the 1960s. But along the way, Jim Morrison developed a reputation as an international bad boy. Now, nearly 40 years after his death, state leaders are willing to wipe his criminal record clean.

Today, you might call Jim Morrison a rock-and-roll legend.

Along with the music came Morrison's unpredictable on-stage antics. At a 1969 Miami concert, the front man allegedly unzipped his pants and spouted profanities.

A jury convicted Morrison of indecent exposure, but he died before he could appeal. Today the State Clemency Board voted unanimously to grant Morrison a pardon.

The case has become a personal crusade for Governor Charlie Crist.

“In this case, the guilt or innocence is in God's hands, not ours,” he said.

“All Mister Morrison ever did is do drugs and sing songs!”

Plenty of Morrison fans have waited for this day for a long time, but not Angel Lago. He's a retired Miami Police sergeant who says he's friends with the officer who testified and ultimately helped convict Morrison.

“The governor is quoted as saying that he doesn't believe the act happened,” Lago said. “If he believes that, that means that the arresting officer lied under oath, perjured himself on the charging document and in his testimony, and I know that man. That man is an honorable man.”

Beyond the questions about whether Morrison actually did what he was convicted of on that night, there may be a bigger issue here: Is it worth Tallahassee's time and effort to pardon a rocker who's been dead for nearly 40 years?

The governor calls it a way of proving the state is capable of compassion.

“Any time you might have the opportunity to pursue justice, it's not a waste of anyone's time,” Crist said.

As Morrison liked to sing, 'the time to hesitate is through', at least today, it's a message that's been well-received.

Crist has been lobbied to grant Morrison a pardon for more than three years now. The governor says he's a big fan of The Doors' song 'Light my Fire'. And, like Morrison, Crist attended college at Florida State.


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