Gov. Charlie Crist this week said he would go ahead and push to issue a posthumous pardon to the late Jim Morrison. That decision brought national and international exposure to Crist in the waning days of his governorship, and for now, his political career.
Crist has already started the wheels in motion and late Wednesday the governor's office requested that the Florida Parole Commission officially launch an investigation into whether the dead rock singer deserves a pardon from his 40-year-old conviction for indecent exposure.
As noted here in today's N.Y. Times, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle does not plan to contest the pardon. “While I can never condone Morrison’s actions of exposing himself to an audience I will not waste my lawyers’ time in an effort to fight an attempted pardon,'' she said in a statement.
But former Gov. Claude Kirk - who was in charge of the state when Morrison's antics made headlines - questioned the need for a pardon, saying that the state didn't do anything to him and that "Morrison died in the condition he elected to die."
Crist, however, can't give a pardon out by himself. He needs the votes of at least two other members on the Cabinet, which will meet as the clemency board on Dec. 9. Of course, like Crist, all three members of the Cabinet are leaving office in January.
Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson has already said that he is open to a pardon. But there's no guarantee that either Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink - who last year said she didn't know who Jim Morrison is - or Attorney General Bill McCollum would go along.
When asked about this week, McCollum made it clear that while he was "open" to reviewing the case that doesn't mean he will go along with a pardon.
"I want to see the case again kind of refreshed before I make any determination," said McCollum. "I'm going to have to review it."
Kevin Cate, a spokesman for Sink, said the CFO was also reserving final judgment until she saw the results of the Parole Commission's investigation.
"CFO Sink is open to a pardon of Jim Morrison and will make her decision after evaluating the report from the Parole Commission,'' Cate said.