Q - A lot of people in the media said Jim Morrison didn't do anything to be pardoned for, so, why was the pardon issued?
A - The pardon was about closing the open-ended status of Jim's 1970 Miami case, not about Jim's guilt or innocence. The pardon was necessary to void the indictments, the charges, the verdicts and the sentence. Under the US Constitution, Florida had no choice but to pardon Morrison, in the interest of justice. When the pardon was issued, that measure officially closed the case.
Q - A lot of people in the media said this whole pardon effort was a waste of time and taxpayer money, so, who really paid for all of this?
A - Dave Diamond: "The pardon was the best, the last and the only remedy left for us to pursue. I'll also point out to the critics out there who felt all of this was a waste of taxpayer money, this was a self-funded effort. The pardon of Morrison cost the state of Florida little to nothing. But, all resources combined, the pardon effort cost me, personally, upwards of three thousand dollars, over a ten year span."
Q - What's the difference in this case between a pardon and expunging?
A - 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's exactly what Jim Morrison wanted all along, was to be found innocent of the charge of public exposure.
Jim Morrison: "I got acquitted on everything else. We were trying to get this erased because it's not good to have something like that on your record. It's just if something really serious happens then you have a record and it looks a lot worse." (1971)
Expungement is to seal the file, which means with the aid of the Freedom of Information Act, anyone could have it unsealed, as could any officer of the court seeking precedents for other cases.
Q - Were there ever attempts to have Morrison's case expunged?
A - Yes, several times in the mid to late Nineties, several lawyers looked into the idea of filing a motion to dismiss and have the case expunged, but those efforts failed due to lack of interest and lack of funding. That's why the pardon became the only legal measure to consider in the matter.
Dave Diamond: (After expunging attempts failed) "I made a strategic decision not to involve lawyers these last ten years. At no time was a lawyer ever on the payroll by me or Doors Collectors Magazine. We did all of this without a lawyer on our side, although we did get a lot of free advice and moral support from many interested lawyers over the years. My thinking was, many lawyers screwed this case up the first time around, so why would we again involve them?"
Q - Many critics have said that Jim wouldn't have really cared or wanted this pardon, is that correct?
A - No, that is not correct.
Jim Morrison: "I was quite relieved (after the case) that I wasn't taken into the jail and booked. They could have done it easily. The judge's attitude seemed to be that he was trying to prosecute me to the limits of the law. That will be one of our appeals, that I didn't really receive a fair trial because of judicial prejudice. We're going to fight the sentence until it is wiped clean off the records. The appeal motion will first have to go to the circut court in Florida and if it doesn't pass muster there, it will go to the state court and eventually to the Supreme Court. If they accept it there, it will be a final decision then." (1971)
Q - There was a lot of talk about constitutional and technical violations connected with this case. What were those violations?
1. In 2010, a witness came forward to a newspaper and admitted perjury under oath, recanting testimony given during the trial.
2. Unresolved appeal.
3. No one on the Morrison jury under the age of 40. Morrison was 26; that was hardly a jury of his peers.
4. Jury found him not guilty on public intoxication, which he clearly was.
5. Jury found him guilty on the indecent exposure, the one thing Florida prosecutors could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
6. Not all of Morrison's accusers were called to testify, denying his right to face his accusers (all of them).
7. Presiding Judge refused to allow defense to present exonorating evidence.
Q - What about New Haven, will there be a pardon sought in that case?
A - No, there are no further pardon pursuits planned on Morrison's behalf. In Connecticut, the Governor doesn't have the power to issue pardons. As it turns out in the New Haven matter, the charges against Jim Morrison were dropped about a month after the concert.
Q - A lot of critics said this pardon would destroy Jim Morrison's image and hurt Doors record sales. What was the fallout?
A - There was none. That charge is/was ridiculous. In February 2011, just a few short months after the pardon was issued, the Doors won a Grammy Award for the When You're Strange documentary. Also, in 2011, John Densmore inducted Jac Holzman (Elektra Records) into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger continued to tour all over the world, including a very special July 3rd stop in Paris, as part of the 40th anniversary remembrance to Jim Morrison, with a visit to his grave and a performance later that same day. A special walking tour for fans and friends was put together by The Doors Collectors Magazine, honoring this event. Business is just fine!
Q - Did the Morrison blood family support this pardon?
A - The only documented confirmation of support was from 2007, when Jim's late father, Admiral Morrison, told the Associated Press that, yes, he supported the pardon effort.