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Jim Morrison pardon: Crist and Bronson, yeah; Sink and McCollum, maybe

The vote for a posthumous pardon of rock 'n' roll icon Jim Morrison now stands at two yes and two maybes.

Gov. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said Tuesday that they each would support exonerating the lead singer for The Doors for his 1969 indency conviction when it comes up on the agenda of the final Clemency Board meeting on Thursday. But Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Attorney General Bill McCollum, who each said two weeks ago that they would consider the pardon, now say they are still pondering their response. All four of them leave office in January.

"I have not thought about much of the pardons that are going on,or commutations, or any of that sort of thing,'' McCollum said after a marathon final Cabinet meeting of the year on Tuesday. "I will reserve judgment on all of those until then."

Sink said she is awaiting a briefing from her staff "to show me what are the facts in the story, what happened, what didn't happened and an analysis of the situation. So I haven't made a decision yet."

Sink, 62, was at Columbia University "learning how to use one of the first computers" in 1969 and two years later when he died, she was teaching in West Africa.

Bronson and Crist each said they will move to pardon Morrison.

"If it comes up I'll probably be voting yes,'' said Bronson, who joked that he'd like the family to let the Division of Forestry have the rights to Morrison's hit "Light My Fire." "It's been so old and a lot of it was not really super substantiated at the time. It was an inflammatory issue in those days. Is it going to change the world? No." 

Crist, 54, who was 13 and "probably riding horses" the summer of Morrison's conviction now believes that the evidence that Morrison unzipped his pants was weak and that prosecutors were trying to make an example of the singer, who was legendary for his on-stage wildness and was condemned by law enforcement for his reputation for sex and drugs.

He said he will support clemency because he sees it as "a duty to right a wrong."

"While it's important to prosecute the guilty, it's probably more important to exonerate the innocent,'' Crist said. "I think justice is one of the most important things you can stand for in society. If you truly believe that an injustice has been done, how would you be able to stand by?"

Exactly what happened when Morrison went into an obscenity-laced rant during his concert at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami remains one of the most enduring questions of Morrison's brief career. He was found guilty in 1970 of indecent exposure and public profanity and was fined $500 and sentenced to six months in jail. But he never served time and had appealed his conviction when he was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971 at age 27.