Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday morning will spend several hours deciding whether to pardon or restore the civil rights of several dozen men and women seeking forgiveness from Florida's Board of Executive Clemency.
But with only a handful of clemency meetings left before Crist leaves his post as governor, there remains a bit of unfinished business: Will Crist and the board ever take a vote to consider a posthumous pardon for James Douglas Morrison, aka, Jim Morrison?
When Crist first became governor, longstanding fans of The Doors frontman hoped that Morrison - a Florida native and Florida State University student - could finally get his record cleared. They want the state to wipe out Morrison's conviction for indecent exposure that stemmed from a notorious concert at a Coconut Grove auditorium in 1969. It was during this concert that a drunken Morrison allegedly attempted to masturbate on stage.
Morrison was sentenced to six months in jail but he died at the age of 27 in a Paris bathtub while his case was still on appeal. Back in 2007 Crist - who sang a couple of lines of "Light My Fire" - said he was seriously considering a pardon but nothing has come of it since that time.
Dave Diamond, an Ohio fan of The Doors who is backing the pardon effort, said he wrote a new letter just 2 weeks ago asking Crist about the case. Diamond says that the state's clemency office has received a formal application from him asking for the pardon but that it would take a vote by Crist and the clemency board to begin the process.
Diamond and others see the conviction as a byproduct of a time when the nation was deeply divided and point out that the judge presiding over the case denied motions intended to show that Morrison's performance was not out of line with community standards of Miami at the time.
But they also contend the conviction makes no sense, pointing out that Morrison was cleared of drunkenness charges but convicted of indecent exposure. Morrison also beat back an initial charge of lewd and lascivious behavior.
"We can't figure out why this hasn't been quickly resolved by now," said Diamond in an e-mail. "It's troubling from a legal point of view that his case has been left unresolved. Whether people love Morrison or hate Morrison, he was a Florida citizen first and foremost and entitled to the same due process as you or me."
Part of the problem may be one of simple politics. Florida has thousands of former felons trying to win back their rights and it's not clear whether it would go over well with the public if the state spent time clearing a dead man instead of dealing with the living. While Crist pushed through rules meant to make it easier for people to get their civil rights restored, he took flak from some members of his own party, including Attorney General Bill McCollum.
Diamond and other Doors backers, however, point to the fact that other Republican governors have gone out of their way to wipe the slate clean for others. Then New York Gov. George Pataki in 2003 pardoned the late Lenny Bruce for an obscenity charge while three years ago Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee cleared a 1975 reckless driving charge for Keith Richards.
Meanwhile, as Morrison's case lingers on, the scene of the alleged crime is about to demolished. The auditorium where the concert took place is scheduled to be torn down later this year.