Crist Makes Bid for Jim Morrison Pardon


Free the Lizard King!


By Fred Mills


Following up here on our report a couple of weeks ago on
rumors that outgoing Florida governor Charlie Crist was considering granting a
posthumous pardon to Doors singer Jim Morrison for his obscenity conviction: it
appears that Crist has decided to do just that.


According to a report Tuesday in the New York Times, Crist confirmed that is submitting the late Lizard
King’s name to the Florida
clemency board. In 1970, Morrison was convicted of both profanity and indecent
exposure (he subsequently died in 1971, in Paris, while his appeal was still pending); the
four members of the board, including Crist, will have to approve the pardon.
They will meet on Dec. 9, right before Crist’s term expires.


Crist told the Times, “I’ve
decided that today. 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.”


In a followup story published yesterday at the Times, a number of other people were
interviewed about the pending pardon. Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, referring
to the social and cultural turmoil in America during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s,
suggested that Morrison’s arrest and conviction was part of that turmoil,
saying, “The battle then was the battle that’s being fought today. It’s the
battle that America
has been fighting. “It was the battle of the conservatives versus the liberals,
the people who could tolerate a theatrical performance and the people who
wanted decency and purity above all things.”


However, Claude R. Kirk Jr., Florida
governor at the time of the Morrison trial, took a dim view of the Crist-pardon
situation, noting, “There’s a lot more important things to think about than
that. The right things were done, and Morrison died in the condition he elected
to die. The state didn’t do anything to him. It tried him and found him guilty.
Why would you pardon him, then?”


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