TRIALS & ARRESTS: PHOENIX


ARRESTED: NOVEMBER 11th, 1969

Jim Morrison Phoenix Trial Suit
Jim Morrison Is Photographed In His Phoenix Trial Suit - Photograph By Frank Lisciandro

CHARGES:

Drunk And Disorderly Conduct (Mis.)
Crime Aboard Aircraft (Fel.)
Assault (Fel.)
Interfering With A Flight Crew (Fel.)

Two days following his official arrest in Miami, Jim Morrison and actor Tom Baker are arrested by the Phoenix Police Dept. at the Sky Harbor International Airport following a Continental Airlines flight from Los Angeles to see a concert by The Rolling Stones. Leon Barnard and Frank Lisciandro are also present during the flight, but do not face charges for the harassment and assault of flight attendants. Both individuals are charged with Drunk & Disorderly Conduct, Assault, and the felony of Crime Aboard An Aircraft and Interfering With A Flight Crew.

The following day, Jim and Tom plead not guilty to the Drunk And Disorderly charges, and are scheduled to appear on November 24th, 1969. Instead of being released, the two are handed over to the U.S. Marshal who sets their bail at $2,500, and requires them to appear on November 24th to face federal charges. On November 24th, Jim Morrison and Tom Baker fail to appear before Judge William P. Copple and the date is rescheduled for December 1st. The pair make the date and plead 'not guilty' to the federal charges. They face up to $10,000 in fines each and possible sentence of up to 20 years. Their trial is set for February 17th, 1970 in Phoenix.

Tom Baker is later acquitted of the charges, and Jim Morrison faces a sentence of up to $300.00 in fines and 3 months in prison. Later, Jim files for a new trial following the stewardess' indication that it was not Jim Morrison who should be accused of the assault, a move that would see both Jim and Tom go free as Tom's case had already been dismissed by this time.

JUDGE:

Hon. William P. Copple

ATTORNEYS:

Craigh Mehrens (Defendants)

PROSECUTORS WITNESSES:

Sherry Ann Mason (Flight Attendant)
Reva Mills (Flight Attendant)



TIMELINE: 1969


NOVEMBER 11

- Jim Morrison and Tom Baker board Continental Airlines flight 172 in Los Angeles at approx. 5:10pm along with Frank Lisciandro and Babe Hill. They are seated in the first class section.

- While in flight, Jim Morrison and Tom Baker engage in a bout of drunkeness and harassment of the flight attendants on the plane. Despite warnings from the flight crew, including the captain Craig Chapman, the harassment continues. Official reports indicate that throughout the flight glasses and bottles were thrown, cigars were smoked while a no-smoking light was on, an oxygen masked was openly compared to a diaphragm, a stewardess' was hit with a lavatory door, etc. The flight attendants refuse to serve Jim and Tom more than two drinks, although it is later reported that alcohol was consumed from a bottle hidden by a comic book. Following these events, the captain radios control in Phoenix requesting the services of police upon the plane's arrival.

- Upon their arrival in Phoenix at approx. 7:10pm, Jim Morrison and Tom Baker are arrested by the Phoenix Police Department. Due to the potential seriousness of the charges to be laid, the FBI is notified of the events immediately. Tom Baker is mistakenly identified as a member of The Doors.

- Passengers onboard the flight who were scheduled to arrive in El Paso and Houston are to be interviewed regarding the incident, however all witnesses deboarded the plane in Phoenix.

NOVEMBER 12

- Jim Morrison and Tom Baker plead 'not guilty' to a Drunk And Disorderly misdemeanor and are released on a $66 bail. They are scheduled to appear in a Phoenix court for these charges on December 2nd and are handed over to the U.S. Marshal by the Phoenix Police Department at approx. 2:30pm.

- In custody of the U.S. Marshal, Jim Morrison and Tom Baker plead 'not guilty' to the federal charges and are released on a $2,500 bail. They are scheduled to appear in a Phoenix court for these charges on November 24th.

NOVEMBER 14

- Continental Airlines has prepared and submitted reports from its staff members regarding the incident on November 11th.

NOVEMBER 24

- Jim Morrison and Tom Baker fail to appear in court and the date is moved to December 1st.

DECEMBER 1

- Jim Morrison and Tom Baker appear in court for arraignment and bail review, and plead 'not guilty' to the charges. Their trial is set for February 17th, 1970.

1970

FEBRUARY 17

- Trial is set to begin for Jim Morrison and Tom Baker on this date but is postponed due to a miswritten indictment.

MARCH 2

- Assistant U.S. Attorney N. Warner Lee advises that the defendant has requested a Bill Of Particulars and that the trial will be delayed until March 12th.

MARCH 3

- Jim Morrison and Tom Baker are reindicted to correct the previous faulty indictment.

MARCH 12

- Trial is set to begin, but is once again delayed to March 26th.

MARCH 23

- Jim Morrison and Tom Baker waive trial by jury.

MARCH 26

- The Phoenix Trial officially begins. Defense attorney Craig Mehrens states that the purpose of the charges are to curtail hijackings, a category in which Jim and Tom do not fall under for touching a stewardess. He also states that being touched by a client is a part of a stewardess' job. Jim Morrison is convicted and scheduled to be sentenced on April 6th, facing a maximum fine of $300.00 and a three month prison term. Tom Baker is acquitted of the charges by Judge William P. Copple based on inconclusive evidence that he had no longer assaulted the stewardess' following a warning by the captain and attendants.


Tom Baker and Jim Morrison Leave The Courtroom, March 26th, 1970 - Photograph By Ed Ryan

APRIL 1

- A motion is filed on behalf of Jim Morrison for an extension to present another motion to file for a new trial. This action is the result of flight attendant Sherry Ann Mason's admission on March 26th that she had mistaken identities in terms of who had assaulted her on the flight.

APRIL 6

- Jim Morrison is originally scheduled to be sentenced on this date, however sentencing has been postponed to April 20th in lieu of the motion filed on April 1st.

APRIL 10

- The Doors perform in Boston.

APRIL 12

- The Doors perform in Denver.

APRIL 13

- Jim Morrison's defense files a motion for judgement of acquittal and a motion for a new trial in that flight attendant Sherry Ann Mason no longer accuses him of the harassment/assault due to a case of mistaken identity. Judge William P. Copple sets a hearing for April 20th.

APRIL 17

- Jim Morrison's sentencing date is rescheduled from April 20th to April 27th.

APRIL 18

- The Doors perform in Honolulu.

APRIL 20

- Jim Morrison is acquitted of charges on this date following a reverse testimony by a stewardess. His sentencing date of April 27th is vacated and his bond exonerated. An attorney at law for the Federal Aviation Administration in Los Angeles reports that he is considering filing civil rights suits against Jim Morrison and Tom Baker for damages in the amount of $2,000 each, however no further information is known of these suits.

APRIL 29

- Press agent Leon Barnard types an official newsletter stating that charges have been dropped.


Leon Barnard's Official Newsletter - April 29th, 1970