Florida governor Charlie Crist is seeking to issue a posthumous pardon to Doors front man Jim Morrison for two criminal convictions he received after a night of onstage antics in Miami in 1969 that drew outcries from conservatives including antigay crusader Anita Bryant.
The New York Times reports that Crist, whose term ends in January, will submit Morrison’s name to a clemency board next month. He joins Morrison supporters who believe the charges against the countercultural hero were trumped up in a case that constitutes an "injustice." The rocker, who was fined $500 but never served time, was appealing his conviction on misdemeanor charges of profanity and indecent exposure when he died in Paris in 1971 at age 27.
According to the Times, “The fight began on March 1, 1969, when the Doors played a raucous concert at Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. An intoxicated Morrison stumbled through songs like 'Light My Fire' and 'Break On Through (To the Other Side),' taunted the crowd and threatened to expose himself before fans mobbed the stage. A newspaper review said the singer appeared to simulate masturbation during his performance, and the concert was investigated by a Miami crime commission as six arrest warrants were issued for Morrison, including one for a felony charge of lewd and lascivious behavior.
“In the ensuing outrage, several other nearby Doors concerts were canceled. On March 23, the Orange Bowl became the scene of a Rally for Decency, organized by local high school students. Some 30,000 teenagers and adults gathered for performances and speeches on virtue by Jackie Gleason, Anita Bryant and the Lettermen. (President Richard M. Nixon later wrote a letter to the rally’s organizers saying they had shown ‘admirable initiative.’)”
Some doubt whether the pardon will succeed. Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the current state attorney of Miami-Dade County, who would need to weigh in regarding the pardon, said the effort seemed like a waste of state resources.