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December 9, 2010

This is the End: Jim Morrison becomes posthumous back door (pardon) man

Jim1 As detailed in this local story, which is headlined "Crist, clemency board give ‘Lizard King’ redemption," a long-dead famous guy got a pardon in Florida today. Here are the basics:

Whether or not the “Lizard King” unzipped his pants and exposed himself to a crowd of thousands more than 40 years ago remains a mystery.

Jim Morrison’s alleged antics will remain forever a part of the late rocker’s legacy. But the charges against him for indecent exposure and public intoxication won’t.

Gov. Charlie Crist, Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum, acting as the state Clemency Board, granted Morrison, the lead singer of “The Doors,” a pardon Thursday afternoon as one of their final acts as a panel before leaving office....

Crist, who presented the motion for the pardon himself said that because Morrison died while his appeal was pending, the late rocker did not have a chance to clear his name. “In this case, the guilt or innocence is in God’s hands, not ours. That is why I respectfully ask my colleagues today to pardon Jim Morrison,” Crist said.

Morrison’s pardon was not without drama. Angel Lago, a former Miami cop, showed up to protest the exoneration of Morrison. “My objection is that the gentlemen had showed no remorse for a pardon, didn’t change his lifestyle at all and eventually his drug use killed him in a Paris bar bathroom from a heroin overdose,” Lago said. “I think this is a wrong message to send the youth of this country. I think it’s absolutely wrong.”

But Crist and Sink said that Morrison, who was born in Melbourne, left behind a legacy for which he should be honored. “It’s not about the guilt or innocence of the man and it’s not about retrying the case here today. That’s not what this is about. We have had an opportunity for about 40 years for this son of Florida whose body of work has endured and has this blot on his record, if you will, for something that he may or may not have done when he was essentially a kid,” Crist said.

The vote in favor of Morrison’s pardon was unanimous.

For a host of reasons, I do not love this decision madly and it does not light my fire.  There are lots and lots of live people whose clemency requests fail to get even a fraction of time and energy and attention that this Morrison matter has recently generated.  But even though this decision does not touch me, I suspect I can and will ride out the storm of media this decision is sure to generate.

December 9, 2010 at 04:18 PM | Permalink

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Comments

The Agriculture Commissioner has a say in who gets pardoned in Florida? Strange.

On the other hand, maybe it is kind of cool to be pardoned by Charles Bronson. The characters he played weren't particularly known for mercy.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Dec 9, 2010 4:46:34 PM

Doug --

I agree in toto with your take on this. To spend time on this stuff while serious cases await consideration is outlandish. Morrison got to the front of the line because he was a rock star and thus sparked nostalgia among people of Crist's generation. The idea that that sort of thing should be the basis for a pardon is ridiculous.

With this kind of thinking, maybe we should give Lindsay Lohan a pardon too. Or Paris Hilton.

The word "frivolous" just got re-defined.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 9, 2010 5:26:08 PM

Now my eyes have seen everything. Realms of bliss. Realms of light, Mr. Bill gets to be right. The odds have to be five to one against that. Those typical L.A. women Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton should get pardons too.

Strange days.

Posted by: George | Dec 9, 2010 8:00:03 PM

They are not potential voters. After Mr. Crist left law school he spent 5 years in practice. He then headed off to politics. His perspective of his constituency is stunted. The people need to seek individuals with some real life perspective. Not only does Mr. Crist not have to consider the thoughts of the incarcerated, I believe he cannot perceive the slight of this move. The incarcerated are people who deserve some modicum of respect.

Posted by: Leo Mendus | Dec 9, 2010 8:06:04 PM

Crist does it again. What a waste of time. I love the Doors, but is this really necessary? He has got to be the most bizarre Governor our state has seen. There are 25 inmates on death row ready for a warrant and he does this instead. He signed a death warrant a couple of years ago for a man in the middle of post conviction process in the Florida Supreme Court. They vacated the sentence. I think someone in his own Counsel or the State Atty General's office should have informed him that you issue death warrants when the inmate finishes the federal appeals, not in the middle of postconviction. PEOPLE ARE STRANGE, THE END

Posted by: DaveP | Dec 9, 2010 8:26:18 PM

C'mon, C'mon, C'mon, C'mon, now ... you guys are being unfair! You are acting as though this pardon precludes any other. If we were talking about Bum Phillips leaving two perfectly good tickets for Elvis, that would be different. How much time was really spent on this pardon?

I am sure that you would have preferred a pardon for some killer on the road, but... Crist will ride out this storm of criticism.

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Dec 10, 2010 9:21:19 AM

While I don't disagree with the crowd regarding misplaced priorities, I am curious about a procedural detail. If he died while his direct appeal of the conviction was pending, why was the conviction not vacated then, under the same rule from which Ken Lay (or his family and memory) benefited a few years ago? Anyone know the history, or the difference between Florida and federal common law?

Posted by: Def. Atty | Dec 10, 2010 11:14:50 AM

Re: the procedural detail: The law in Florida is that "upon the death of a criminal defendant, the appeal of a conviction may be dismissed but is not to be abated ab initio . . .the death of the defendant does not extinguish a presumably correct conviction and restore the presumption of innocence which the conviction overcame." State v. Clements, 668 So.2d 980, 981-982 (Fla 1996).

Posted by: Steven Kruer | Dec 10, 2010 2:51:14 PM

"Re: the procedural detail: The law in Florida is that "upon the death of a criminal defendant, the appeal of a conviction may be dismissed but is not to be abated ab initio . . .the death of the defendant does not extinguish a presumably correct conviction and restore the presumption of innocence which the conviction overcame." State v. Clements, 668 So.2d 980, 981-982 (Fla 1996).


Posted by: Steven Kruer | Dec 10, 2010 2:51:14 PM"

Or translated...in after DEATH the state of florida reserves the right to screw with you!

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 10, 2010 8:13:18 PM

If only his work was as good as Roman Polanski's, he would have been pardoned while he was alive.

Posted by: jkd | Dec 12, 2010 12:23:23 PM

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