Guest Author - Lizz Shepherd
When Jim Morrison was arrested for indecent exposure in 1969, it understandably made headlines. As one of the best-known artists in the rock and roll world, allegedly exposing himself on stage and being arrested for the act was a controversy that spanned the law, politics, entertainment and the reputation of rock and roll as a whole. Now, the incident is back in the news as a possible pardon for the incident and a resulting backlash has once again made Morisson's private parts big news.
The original incident took place at Key Auditorium in Miami in March of 1969. The concert was rowdy and loud, just like any decent rock concert. And like any 60s rocker, Jim Morrison wasn't willing to play by the rules given to him. The charges included public drunkenness, indecent exposure, open profanity and lascivious behavior. The last charge was for allegedly imitating a sex act during the performance.
Morrison was acquitted on some of the charges, including public drunkenness and lascivious behavior. He was found guilty of two of the counts- open profanity and indecent exposure. Morrison was given a sentence of six months. Morrison did appeal the verdict, but he died during the appeal process in 1971.
What was behind the charges, arrest and conviction has long been debated by classic rock fans as well as those who knew Morrison. The other members of the Doors have long maintained that the entire case was a politically driven sham that was meant more to bolster the careers of the local politicians than to protect the public from obscenity. Fans have been petitioning the governors of Florida for a pardon for almost four decades, and that finally happened in December, 2010.
With the pardon now a part of the official record, the question now is why the pardon almost 40 years after the fact and whether a pardon was the appropriate course of action if one was needed. According the the surviving members of the band, a pardon was another politically motivated action that served no purpose. According to a prepared statement by the three surviving members of The Doors, Robby Krieger, John Densmore and Ray Manzarek, the city of Miami and the state of Florida could have better rectified things by issuing an official apology and expunging Morrison's record of the conviction.