A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Jim Morrison Wanted Behind Jail Cell "Doors"

I wish I could tell you I remember this day (March 5) in history in 1969, but it was about 4 months before I was born when an arrest warrant was issued for Doors lead singer Jim Morrison (December 8, 1943 - July 3, 1971) for his behavior on-stage at a concert here in my hometown. A detailed post about the concert is here.

According to historychannel.com, "When Morrison first got word of the charges for lewd and lascivious behavior, indecent exposure, profanity, and drunkenness, he thought it was a practical joke.

Morrison rejected a plea bargain that included the Doors playing a free concert in Miami." and proceeded to trial August 12, 1970.

As historychannel.com goes on to report, "virtually every witness was somehow connected to the police or the district attorney's office. There was some question as to whether the popular singer had ever actually exposed himself on stage. But there was little doubt that he was so drunk that he had been able to do little more than mumble during the show."

A great article written at the time of the trial is here. An article written by one of the trial witnesses, photographer David E. LeVine, with pictures of the trial, is here. A recently published article about the entire case, with a color photo of Morrison being led out of the courthouse to jail is here.

Morrison was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison and a $500 fine. Morrison died in Paris (in a bathtub) before he could serve the sentence." A great post about the last days of his life is here.

I'd love to hear from anyone who was in Miami during the trial.

SIDENOTE: I recently went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where they have a fascinating exhibit of Morrison's life, including a letter from the Florida Probation and Parole Commission District Office to Morrison's Father, asking for his input at sentencing, and the letter written in response by Morrison's Father, evidencing a great strain in their relationship. You can read the text of those letters here. A list of the items in the Jim Morrison exhibit is here.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com


  1. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Great posting ... takes me back. The players in the trial were classics -- Judge Goodman, Terry McWilliams, Ellen Morphonios and Al Sepe ... Bob Josefsberg was co-counsel for Morrison with the Lizard King's LA lawyer ... it was a wild time at the MJB.

  2. I read "Riders on the Storm : My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors" by John Densmore long ago. It was a fantastic story. It gave me a great insight into Jim. I was astounded when I read about Jim getting 6 months in jail. Perhaps that's why now I'm not surprised when people in South Florida get 10 years for possessing a small amount of cocaine and driving with a suspended license when they technically violate probation. Lesson learned? He should have taken the plea.