A Pardon for Jim Morrison?
Govenor Charlie Crist
Office of the Governor
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
RE: Special Request For Posthumous Pardon, JAMES DOUGLAS MORRISON
Case# 69-2355 (State of Florida vs. James Morrison)
Dear Govenor 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 Govenor 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 notorius recording artists of recent years who have done far worse in terms of theatrical performances.
Frankly, Mr.Govenor, 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 fourty years. Very simply, Mr.Govenor, it is time to correct the wrongs of this case and issue a full Pardon to James Douglas Morrison and abate Case# 69-2355 off the Florida record.
Thank you for your time in reviewing this case. Your immediate action is requested after many years of long wait.
Posted by: skip
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