Empty political gesture by a governor on his way out the door? Or an attempt to right a wrong that has been a long time coming? You be the judge.
Lame duck Florida Governor Charlie Crist is setting out to pardon Jim Morrison. Some will recall that the rock icon and lead singer of the Doors was convicted of profanity and indecent exposure in 1970 for "exposing" himself at a Doors concert at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium in 1969. Morrison died the following year.
Governor Crist says the more he considers a pardon for Jim Morrison, the more it seems the right thing to do, reports The New York Times. "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," Crist told The Times. The trial supposedly included no documentary evidence showing Morrison exposing himself. Morrison was appealing the misdemeanor convictions when he passed away in Paris at the age of only 27.
The power of a pardon is given to executive officials, like a state's governor or the President. A pardon can be given to a person who has committed or been convicted of a crime and forgives the wrongdoer and restores their civil rights. At the state level, a pardon is granted by the governor or a pardon board made up of state officials. In Florida, Governor Crist is one member of the four-person Board of Executive Clemency, which is charged with granting pardons.
Almost no grant or refusal to grant a pardon is without controversy. Consider pardons from Nixon, to Scooter Libby (who did not receive one). Even the mere suggestion of a possible pardon can bring approval and disapproval raining down on the executive. As discussed in a prior post on FindLaw's Legally Weird, when Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico even considered granting a pardon to iconic outlaw Billy the Kid, shots flew, mostly from the ancestors of the law man who reportedly killed the Kid.
Even now, some of Morrison's fans think the star, who would be 67, might still be too much of a rebel and agitator to appreciate a nod from the establishment. But Crist disagrees, reports The Times. "[M]y heart bleeds for he [sic] and his family that this may not have even ever happened, yet it's unfortunately currently part of his record."
- The Doors members: Fla. gov should pardon Morrison (Associated Press)
- Pardon (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- Should the President Pardon Scooter Libby? Why Even Administration Critics Should Favor a Pardon (FindLaw's Writ)
- Posthumous Pardon for Billy the Kid? (FindLaw's Legally Weird)