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Crist and Clemency Board pardons Jim Morrison of the Doors

More than 40 years after his conviction, Florida's Board of Clemency unanimously approved the posthumous pardon Thursday of rock icon Jim Morrison of the Doors, who was sentenced for exposing himself during a Miami concert in 1969.

Gov. Charlie Crist moved to pardon Morrison because, he said, he believed he may have been the victim of a legal system and jury more interested in sending a message in the midst of a culture war than in the facts of the case.

"In this case, guilt or innocence is in God's hands, not ours,'' Crist said after introducing the motion to the four-member board. "That is why I ask my colleagues today to pardon Jim Morrison.''

Although there are many photographs of the concert, none showed Morrison exposing himself. And there was no film record  or other tangible evidence, Crist said. A half-dozen prosecution witnesses, including police working the concert, said they saw what they saw, but plenty of defense witnesses said they saw nothing.

A jury in 1970 convicted Morrison of indecent exposure and open profanity, though he was cleared of a felony count of lewd and lascivious behavior and public drunkenness. He was sentenced to six months in jail, but died two years later in Paris while the case was under appeal.

"He was a young guy who maybe, or maybe not, made a mistake,'' Crist said before the proceeding. "It strikes me that everyone deserves a second chance. You have to have the capacity for forgiveness.''

 

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