Click here for various video/audio of Jim Morrison & the Miami Concert. Click here & here for instant access to Google Search.
Governor Charlie Crist
Office of the Governor
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
RE: Special Request For Posthumous Pardon, JAMES DOUGLAS MORRISON
Case# # F69002355 (State of Florida vs. James Morrison)
Dear Governor Crist,
It is with great honor and profound respect that I write you. Justice has been denied to a native Floridian and the time has come at this point in history to correct a wrong that occured in 1970 in Dade County Criminal Court.
James Douglas Morrison was born 12-08-43 in Melbourne, Florida. Jim Morrison was the son of Admiral George Stephen Morrison and Clara Clark Morrison, who met in Hawaii in 1941 where Steve Morrison, then an ensign, was stationed.
This letter is a special request for a Posthumous Pardon, full and absolute for James Douglas Morrison, almost thirty seven years after he was convicted in a politically turbulent climate in Dade County in the late Sixties. It is being requested of you to review this case and take action to correct these proceedings, since this case has been sitting unresolved on the law books for far too long. There are two precedents that are being presented to you in this letter for your consideration.
The Doors were scheduled to play a concert at the Dinner Key Auditorium on March 1, 1969. The Doors manager, Bill Siddons had made a deal with the Miami promoter, Ken Collier to accept a flat fee of $25,000 instead of sixty percent of the gross receipts. Collier then sold between eight to nine thousand tickets at more than the agreed price. Collier also removed seats to allow more people into the auditorium. An auditorium designed to hold seven thousand people was now packed tight with about thirteen thousand.
Jim Morrison missed his scheduled flight into Miami and spent the time waiting for the next flight, drinking in the airport lounge. Once he boarded the plane he continued drinking. During a stopover in New Orleans he missed his flight again and consumed even more drinks waiting for the next flight. By the time he reached Miami he was extremely drunk. Once he took the stage he was almost falling down drunk. He was abusive towards the audience, he would start a song only to stop it after a few lines, he would consume even more drinks from members of the audience. He allegedly then exposed himself for a brief instant and continued on with the show.
The next day the Doors started a planned vacation. While out of the country, the press in Miami had a field day with the alleged exposure incident. Pressure was put on local officials to do something about it. On March 5 1969, Bob Jennings from the state attorney's office acted as complainant. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Jim Morrison on one felony count of lewd and lascivious behaviour and three misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure, open profanity and drunkenness.
Jim turned himself in to the FBI in Los Angeles on April 4, 1969. On November 9, 1969 he entered a not guilty plea in Miami. The trial did not start until August 12, 1970. Max Fink was Jim's defense lawyer, the prosecuter was Terrence McWilliams and Judge Murray Goodman presided over the case. Much evidence was heard from witnesses for both sides. Most of it was contradictory. On September 20, 1970 the jury found Jim Morrison guilty on the misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and profanity. He was found not guilty on the felony charge and the misdemeanor for drunkenness. He was released on a $50,000 bond and returned to Miami on October 30, 1970 for sentencing.
Judge Goodman sentenced Jim to six months of hard labor and a $500 fine for public exposure and sixty days of hard labor for profanity. The sentences would run concurrently. He would be eligible for release after two months and would be on probation for two years and four months. His lawyer filed an immediate appeal. Until the appeal could be heard, Jim would be free on the $50,000 bond.
It was never actually proven with photos, video or audio recordings or documentation that Mr.Morrison had indeed exposed himself. Under oath, he denied doing so and there were no witnesses who could say with 100% certainty that he commited such offense. There is no dispute as to the drunken language that he used in between songs at this particular concert. One must take into account, he was a performer at a rock concert and not preaching at a church or giving a speech at a political function.
Jim Morrison was to die in Paris, France July 3, 1971 before his legal problems could be resolved.
In December 2003, the Governor of New York George Pataki issued a full Pardon to Lenny Bruce for all convictions resulting from his 1965 obscenity trial, declaring the State of New York has a profound respect for the First Amendment and free speech must be protected. Jim Morrison was convicted along the same lines and by todays' standards, Mr.Morrison's actions and verbal commentary on that August night are tame compared to some of the more notorious recording artists of recent years who have done far worse in terms of theatrical performances.
Frankly, Mr. Governor, I've seen and heard comedians use worse language at local comedy clubs here in Ohio and I've certainly never witnessed State, City or County officials rushing to bring comedic performers to trial as was the case with Mr. Bruce.
The most important precedent comes from a recent ruling from Houston Texas where former Enron founder Ken Lay was found guilty of various charges, but Mr. Lay passed away before his appeal could be heard. His passing resulted in the sitting trial judge having no choice but to abate the case against Mr. Lay on October 17, 2006.
Jim Morrison died in Paris, France in July of 1971, but his appeal has not yet been heard from 1970 to present day. This is the primary reason why this matter is being brought to your attention. A citizen of Florida has been denied justice and the Morrison family have been living with this unresolved case for almost forty years. Very simply, Mr. Governor, it is time to correct the wrongs of this case and issue a full Pardon to James Douglas Morrison and abate Case # F69002355 off the Florida record.
Thank you for your time in reviewing this case. Your immediate action is requested after many years of long wait.
This letter was e-mailed to Governor Crist 3-18-07.
Q- Is this a joke, publicity stunt, or a hoax?
A- No, the effort to request a Pardon for Jim Morrison is very real. Several people have put in hundreds of hours in research and review towards this case.
Q- What is the origin of this effort?
A- The effort to request a Pardon & review of this case was started in 1996 by Doors Collectors Magazine. Kerry Humpherys,
Jan Eloise Morris and Janelle Preston compiled several articles about the merits of the case and presenting evidence that was not heard, presented or discussed, evidence that if had been allowed to be presented, might have exonerated Jim Morrison.
Q- Was Jim Morrison drunk that night in Miami?
A- Yes, he was very drunk. There are several audio CDs out there that clearly demonstrate this. Jim was found NOT GUILTY on the charge of public intoxication by the jury!
Q- Did he "whip it out?"
A -There are no credible witnesses, photographs or any film/video that can prove with 100% certainty that this incident occured.
Under oath in the Dade Couty Court, during his 1970 trial, Jim Morrison testified that he did not expose himself. The jury found him GUILTY of this charge even though the State of Florida could not & did not LEGALLY prove this incident happened beyond a reasonable doubt!
Q- I've seen dozens of Doors documentaries, music shows on the leading TV music channels and read lots of books that said this exposure incident happend. Are all of these sources accurate?
A- There are people out there that swear they've seen Elvis on a frequent basis since his death in 1977.
Q- If Jim Morrison is pardoned, will this ruin his "bad boy of rock" image?
A- Jim Morrison wasn't interested in being a "bad boy of rock." That label was given to him by the media and accepted by the most fans over the years. There is nothing "iconic" or cool about being convicted in a criminal court. This effort is not about
re-writing history, altering public perception of Jim Morrison or an attempt to tarnish the Door's legacy. This effort is to bring to light that a citizen of Florida was convicted in court without the law being properly applied. It's time for Jim Morrison to stop being judged by this Miami case and put the focus back where it fully belongs- on his art, his poetry & the musical legacy
of The Doors.
Q- Is anyone getting paid for this?
A- No one associated with this effort is being compensated. This effort has just involved hours upon hours of research.
Q- Why was this effort initiated?
A- Forget for a moment that he IS Jim Morrison. We looked at this from the standpoint that he was a citizen of Florida who was denied true justice for several reasons. It was a politically motivated case to begin with. There are musicians, bands and performers over the years who have done far worse than pop off some profanity onstage and they were never arrested and charged. The officials involved in the Morrison case were under pressure to act. If Jim Morrison had INDEED committed the offenses at hand, he would have been arrested that night during or directly after the Miami performance just as he was during the now infamous 1968 New Haven concert, where he was maced in the eyes by a police officer before the show. During the Miami performance, the police had no probable cause to arrest Jim Morrison and they didn't. In fact, it was proven that many of the police officers in attendance that night were seen laughing, joking and hanging out with The Doors before, during and after the show. If there was no cause for arrest during that timeframe, then the ensuing charges only underscore the political pressure that followed.
Q- Was the depiction of the Miami concert and the ensuing trial correctly portrayed in the Oliver Stone movie "The Doors?"
A- Not even close. The Stone movie was mostly spin & "fun with fiction." But, over a few beers, it IS a cool movie!
Q- What legal precedents are being used for consideration of a Pardon for Jim Morrison?
1. December 23, 2003- New York Governor George Pataki issued an official Pardon to famed Sixties comedian Lenny Bruce. Pataki called his decision, the first posthumous pardon in New York state history, "a declaration of New York's commitment to upholding the First Amendment."
2. On October 17, 2006, Enron founder Ken Lay died prior to exhausting his appeals, his conviction was abated. Precedent in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appellate court governing the district where Lay was indicted, indicates that abatement had to be automatically granted. When abatement occurs, the law views it as though he had never been indicted, tried and convicted. The government opposed Lay's attorneys' motion for abatement, and the Department of Justice issued a statement that it "remains committed to pursuing all available legal remedies and to reclaim for victims the proceeds of crimes committed by Ken Lay."
Q- Do you seriously think the Governor of Florida will issue the Pardon?
A- Anything is possible. All we did was present our letters and petitions, present the facts as they exist and provided some legal precedents for the Governor to seriously consider. The decision is now up to the Governor of Florida.
Click here to read Admiral Morrison's letter to the Parole Board.
(Special thanks to Ida Miller)
"I got acquitted on everything else. We were trying to get this erased because it's not good to have something like that on your record. It's just if something really serious happens then you have a record and it looks a lot worse.
The trouble with all these busts is that people I know, friends of mine, think it's funny and they like to believe it's true and they accept it; people that don't like me like to believe it because I'm the reincarnation of everything they consider evil. I get hung both ways."
(from a 1971 interview with Bob Chorush/Los Angeles Free Press)
Miami Concert transcripts here. (Parental Advisory-Explicit Lyrics) Click here for an in-depth look at the Miami trial by David E. LeVine
5-15-07 An Application For Clemency Form 1501 was filled out and sent by Certified Mail to the Florida Office of Executive Clemency. The form was filed by Doors Collectors Magazine, on behalf of Jim Morrison.
Click here for Matt Meltzer's article on the Jim Morrison Pardon Effort.
(Special thanks to Matt Meltzer)
6-10-09 Governor Crist responds to Morrison Pardon Effort 2 years later.
12-10-09 The Florida Parole & Clemency Board meets again, with no resolution on the Jim Morrison case. Click here and here.
November 2010 Updates - Setting The Record Straight!
In the month of November 2010, Florida Governor Charlie Crist surprised everyone, including us at Doors Collectors Magazine, by finally agreeing to submit Jim Morrison's name for consideration of a posthumous pardon, honoring a commitment he made to us in April of 2007.
Needless to say, this announcement kicked off a worldwide hysteria of critical opinions, some newspaper editorial boards going crazy with their "arm chair jurying," bloggers jumped onto their sites with their high-horse soap box preaching and Doors fans all over the world rejoiced, while some of them were left totally disgusted.
Most of the newspapers, magazines and other naysayers, without knowing the full facts of the case, are reporting that Jim Morrison wouldn't have cared, nor wanted a pardon. Our position all along is that this is, and always has been, about trying to seek dismissal of his entire criminal record in Miami, Florida. Many people have suggested over the years, why bother with the pardon, why not just go for expunging? Several attempts were made in the mid-90s to file a motion to expunge, but due to lack of finding interested lawyers to follow through, the posthumous pardon became the last legal remedy available to finally close this case.
If any of you out there have the cash for a lawyer and are willing to pick up court costs, motion filings and travel to & from Miami-Dade court, please drop us a line, otherwise, we'd appreciate it if you'd just drop off a note of thanks, being that we're the ones that have been legally researching this case since 1996! It's easy to sit on the sidelines, behind your computer or on your couch and complain to those of us who've stuck with this case for so long!
Why did we undertake in this effort for the last 14 years? All of us can reasonably agree (except for the former Florida Governor Claude Kirk, Jr) that Jim Morrison was railroaded during the whole Miami trial ordeal and it brought a lot of emotional & financial pain to Morrison and those around him who loved him best. This effort was NOT initiated to open old wounds, although, in some cases, it was unavoidable in order to get to the truth.
This effort was not an attempt to play "gotcha" with the press or legal experts. This effort was not started to clash with ex-family members or friends of Jim Morrison & his bandmates in The Doors.
This effort was started for one reason- the pursuit of justice. Anyone remember when that word used to mean something in this society? Some of us believe it STILL does!
No one associated with this effort has profited, there's no new books, movies or CDs to promote. This effort was a long and at times, very frustrating process of paperwork, research, telephone calls, e-mails, faxes, meetings, an endless supply of pens, paper, pencils and stamps, endless hours reading trial transcripts, books, magazines, interviews with many of the people who were in attendance of the Miami trial in 1970 and countless other hours doing a half a million things!
Contrary to popular belief, Jim Morrison very much DID care about his criminal record! He wanted the charges dismissed and his record wiped clean by any means necessary. Starting in 1996, Doors Collectors Magazine began the effort to honor his wishes.
Whether or not you're a fan of Florida Governor Charlie Crist is not the issue. The Governor is an elected official, who sits on the Parole & Clemency Board four times a year and considers parole, clemency & pardons, as well as restoration of civil rights.
We followed the exact same process as any living inmate currently in the Florida criminal justice system. We filled out the same paperwork and overall, this effort was conducted by the book- no short-cuts or "celebrity favoritism" tactics were used.
In an attempt to perhaps silence some of the critics, naysayers & other "journalistic comedians" who publish pure ignorant nonsense in their columns over this case and seem to find great humor at Morrison's legal disposition, we are publishing direct quotes from Jim Morrison himself, unedited & uncensored, along with their proper sources so you can decide for yourself if our work was worth it.
-Doors Collectors Magazine
"You know, I was hoping- or I thought there might be a possibility of it becoming a major ground-breaking kind of case.
I thought it might become a basic American issue involving freedom of speech and the right of anyone with a personal viewpoint to state their ideas to the public and receive a hearing without legal pressure being put on them."
Break On Through/The Life & Death of Jim Morrison, page 415
(James Riordan & Jerry Prochnicky)
"I wouldn't have chosen to go have gone through the experience, but while it was happening, all I could do was watch. I'm admitting the charge of public profanity, but denying the exposure charge.
We're going to appeal that for as long as it takes to get it dismissed. It may take another year or two. I think it was more of a political than a sexual scandal.
They picked on the erotic aspect because there would have been no political charge they could have brought against me. It was too amorphous.
I really think that it was a lifestyle on trial more than any specific incident. Anyway, whatever the sentence will be, even if it is suspended and there is probation of some kind, we will still appeal the conviction, so I wouldn't go to jail immediately, I don't think."
Break On Through/The Life & Death of Jim Morrison, page 416
(James Riordan & Jerry Prochnicky)
"I was quite relieved that I wasn't taken into the jail and booked. They could have done it easily. The judge's attitude seemed to be that he was trying to prosecute me to the limits of the law.
That will be one of our appeals, that I didn't really receive a fair trial because of judicial prejudice. We're going to fight the sentence until it is wiped clean off the records.
The appeal motion will first have to go to the circut court in Florida and if it doesn't pass muster there, it will go to the state court and eventually to the Supreme Court. If they accept it there, it will be a final decision then."
Break On Through/The Life & Death of Jim Morrison, page 418
(James Riordan & Jerry Prochnicky)
John Densmore supports the Pardon effort. Click here.
Ray Manzarek & Robby Kreiger support the Pardon effort. Click here.
Morrison’s father, retired U.S. Admiral George S. Morrison (RIP) voiced his support for the Pardon effort. Click here. After 41 years, this case is officially closed. Click in to find out the legal reasons why.
Special In-Depth Features
Ray Manzarek supports the Pardon effort. Click here.
"A pardon won't change Morrison's image, but it will right a wrong," -Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger (Associated Press 12-8-10)
The staff of Doors Collectors Magazine (doors.com) would like to thank the Florida Parole & Clemency Board for taking the time to address & resolve the long-overdue Constitutional and legal flaws in the matter of the State of Florida vs. James Douglas Morrison, Case # F69002355 on 12-9-10, by bringing this matter to an official close via State-notarized Pardon. Our special thanks to Governor Charlie Crist and the Florida Parole & Clemency Board for their time and consideration in this matter.
Official statement (12-9-10) by Florida Governor Charlie Crist, stating the legal reasons why he officially requested the Pardon. Click here.
Florida Parole & Clemency Board
12-9-10 - Part 1
Florida Parole & Clemency Board
12-9-10 - Part 2
Florida Parole & Clemency Board
12-9-10 - Part 3
Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for Mr. Crist, wrote in an email: “The clemency board pardoned Jim Morrison because the evidence presented to the board did not support the initial charges and because it was the right decision to make based on the evidence at hand. The State of Florida in recognizing the insufficiency of the charges, against Morrison issued an apology in the form of a pardon.”