Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Posthumous Pardon for Jim Morrison?

Charlie Crist, the soon-to-be-former governor of Florida, is considering a posthumous pardon for the late rock star Jim Morrison. Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure after a chaotic concert in Miami forty years ago. He died the following year, in the most famous Parisian bathtub this side of Marat.

The decision is not Crist’s to make unilaterally. Two other members of the state’s clemency board must sign off. According to the New York Times, that seems likely.

Why are governors and presidents typically so parsimonious with pardons until their administrations are practically over? Exoneration would mean more if its executive sponsor were willing to face the political consequences, as Gerald Ford did in 1976 for his pardon of Richard Nixon.

Or maybe there are enough old fans of the Doors living in Florida that it might actually have helped Crist politically to have thrown this olive branch to Jim Morrison’s legacy?

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