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Published: 2010/12/22

The Doors Respond to Florida’s "Pardon" of Jim Morrison

Doors members Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robby Krieger have issued a joint statement regarding Florida’s pardon of Jim Morrison. The Doors singer was pardoned this fall more than 40 years after his alleged obscene acts on a Miami stage.

The group’s statement reads:

In 1969 the Doors played an infamous concert in Miami, Florida. Accounts vary as to what actually happened on stage that night.

Whatever took place that night ended with The Doors sharing beers and laughter in the dressing room with the Miami police, who acted as security at the venue that evening. No arrests were made. The next day we flew off to Jamaica for a few days’ vacation before our planned 20-city tour of America.

That tour never materialized. Four days later, warrants were issued in Miami for the arrest of Morrison on trumped-up charges of indecency, public obscenity, and general rock-and-roll revelry. Every city The Doors were booked into canceled their engagement.

A circus of fire-and-brimstone “decency” rallies, grand jury investigations and apocalyptic editorials followed – not to mention allegations ranging from the unsubstantiated (he exposed himself) to the fantastic (the Doors were “inciting a riot” but also “hypnotizing” the crowd).

In August, Jim Morrison went on trial in Miami. He was acquitted on all but two misdemeanor charges and sentenced to six months’ hard labor in Raiford Penitentiary. He was appealing this conviction when he died in Paris on July 3, 1971. Four decades after the fact, with Jim an icon for multiple generations – and those who railed against him now a laughingstock – Florida has seen fit to issue a pardon.

We don’t feel Jim needs to be pardoned for anything.

His performance in Miami that night was certainly provocative, and entirely in the insurrectionary spirit of The Doors’ music and message. The charges against him were largely an opportunity for grandstanding by ambitious politicians – not to mention an affront to free speech and a massive waste of time and taxpayer dollars. As Ann Woolner of the Albany Times-Union wrote recently, “Morrison’s case bore all the signs of a political prosecution, a rebuke from the cultural right to punish a symbol of Dionysian rebellion.”

If the State of Florida and the City of Miami want to make amends for the travesty of Jim Morrison’s arrest and prosecution forty years after the fact, an apology would be more appropriate – and expunging the whole sorry matter from the record. And how about a promise to stop letting culture-war hysteria trump our First Amendment rights? Freedom of Speech must be held sacred, especially in these reactionary times.


The Doors

The Morrison Family


There are 11 comments associated with this post

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clint January 12, 2013, 02:32:28

the doors, it was not about the songs. mojo did not give a flying fiddlers fuck if you hung around or not. when you went to a doors ‘show’ (not concert), you went for the mayhem and the bullshit. if you wanted to hear doors music you brought an lp.

themis December 23, 2010, 15:16:00

Patricia Keneally (I refuse to call her Morrison since she has no legal right to that name) has no basis to call herself family. Her comments on CNN were a total and complete snow job, but since CNN doesn’t fact check, it doesn’t suprise me that they gave her that platform to sit there and knowingly lie and Susan Candioti swallowed all of it with a smile! She keeps calling the pardon a joke. This, coming from a woman who’s made a forty year career out of a 10 day bender! PULEEEZE! I wish she would ride her broom straigt to hell!

Dean The Editor December 22, 2010, 14:56:28

Right On!!!

Phrazz December 22, 2010, 17:52:06

Holy smokes…what an awesome letter from the hearts and minds of those who were closest to Jim! To know the politics behind it makes us consider the latest pardon is likely also political.

Dave December 22, 2010, 17:52:57

Huge. Perhaps, if this persecution had not taken place, Jim would not have needed to seek refuge in Paris. He could have remained in the US where his friends and Doors family members could have kept a closer eye on him, and he may not have died so tragically young….

Jim Christaldi December 22, 2010, 18:51:41

Very well stated and I agree with your point of view 100%. Miami, take that pardon and shove it (but not on stage)!

hamburglar December 23, 2010, 02:48:04

Thanks for this Jambands. Great letter Doors and Morrison family.

homer December 23, 2010, 14:11:24

I disagree with the Doors. They’ve had 40 years to expunge this case, they certainly have the money and the lawyers. Why hasn’t expunging of the case happened up to now? Why did it take the work of fans to do a lawyer’s job? This whole situation is fricking ridiculous. The Doors should file their own motion to expunge and stop trying this case through the media. All I keep hearing from Doors and media is BLAH BLAH BLAH. Either expunge his case or quit talking about it. I’m tired of this story in my papers every day!

paxton December 23, 2010, 17:00:07

I am a Doors fan, I’m a fan of their records, but i am not a Fan of spending my hard earned money to see a wasted musician who can’t perform. I don’t care if their wasted, if the show is great, however i can’t stand a musician so gone off whatever that they think anything they do while high is genius. That was Morrison on stage. They shined in the studio.

randy December 23, 2010, 20:54:29

Quoting Patricia Kennealy Morrison in this (12-22-10) New York Times article: “If it were to be an overturning of the verdict and expungement of the charges, fine. I could live with that. I would even approve of that.” Then please live with it and approve it, because the pardon does exactly what you and the Doors and the Morrison family asked for. The PARDON physically destroys the record of Jim Morrison’s Miami file and overturns the verdict (making Jim Morrison now innocent of the charges.) That means Morrison’s record for the Miami incident no longer exists physically in the Florida Court System. Now Jim Morrison is innocent according to the State of Florida. That is exactly what Jim Morrison wanted all along – to be found innocent of the charge of public exposure. The pardon is an apology. All an EXPUNGEMENT would do is seal the file, which means with the aid of the Freedom of Information Act I could have it unsealed, as could any officer of the court seeking precedents for other cases. This is not the first time Kennealy Morrison’s lack of legal knowledge has served her ill. Her claim to being Jim Morrison’s widow is without any standing whatsoever. Jim Morrison legally married Pamela Courson Morrison in the State of Colorado two years before he even met Kennealy Morrison. At the time of his death, Jim and Pamela Morrison were not divorced. That made Pamela in fact and legally Morrison’s widow. Had he not left everything to Pamela in his will, dated 1969, in the State of California Pamela still would have received half of Morrison’s estate due to their provable and legal Colorado marriage. Further Kennealy Morrison added the last name Morrison to her name well over a decade after Jim Morrison died, so Jim Morrison was not consulted in this action. If you need further proof that Jim Morrison was never married to, or felt married to, or was perceived as married to her by Kennealy Morrison, the following is a quote from page 149 of Victoria Balfour’s “Rock Wives: The Hard Lives and Good Times of the Wives, Girlfriends, and Groupies of Rock and Roll.” “Patricia doesn’t know how seriously Jim took the ceremony (“probably not too seriously…”)” Kennealy is quoted as saying in her interview with Balfour. In my opinion I think those words in that book should be the real judgment on any “marriage” between Jim Morrison and MS. Kennealy Morrison. Exploitive hot mess. Ah yes, of course Patricia is in the middle of this exploitive hot mess. She started it by misinforming CNN and now the New York Times of her status with Jim. To pardon someone in the State of Florida is to apologize. A pardon also physically destroys the criminal file. An expungement merely seals it. That makes it available to the Freedom of Information Act or to others with a need to view it (law ebforcemnet officers attorneys, etc.) I wish Ms. Kennealy Morrison understood the law better. She doesn’t, whether it be the question of pardon for Jim, which btw he would have approved. Ms. Kennealy Morrison, if she knew more about the law would have realized that and avoided making a fool of herself. The problem with Kennealy Morrison’s claim that she is Jim’s widow is that Pamela Courson Morrison was married officially in the State of Colorado to James Douglas Morrison two years before Morrison ever met Kennealy Morrison. In the of the law Morrison and Kennealy Morrison were never married. According to Kennealy Morrison in the book Rock Wives by Victoria Balfour Kennealy Morrison said that Jim did not take the ceremony (wicca wedding hand fasting) seriously. She is right. Jim Morrison laughed it off as a “fun thing to do.”

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