Marshall Gets Pardoned

Former Viking great Jim Marshall was granted a pardon Monday at a state board of pardons hearing, expunging his record of a 1990 drug conviction that has followed him ever since.

Former Viking Jim Marshall ended a chapter in his life that has lasted 17 years on Monday when he was officially pardoned for a cocaine possession conviction in 1990.

Marshall, who was arrested in Duluth in possession of two ounces of cocaine, was sentenced to four years in jail for the crime. All of the jail time was stayed and he was placed on probation – which he has served and completed.

Marshall appeared Monday for the Minnesota Board of Pardons, which consists of Governor Tim Pawlenty, Attorney General Lori Swanson and Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Russell Anderson. At his side was his former coach, Bud Grant, and attorney Ron Meshbesher, one of the most prominent attorneys in the state of Minnesota.

In a letter written to the board, Marshall stated, "This is the last stop we need to relieve the shame I have felt and remove the one blemish from my record."

One of the primary reasons Marshall was seeking a pardon was because it made it very difficult for him to obtain a visa to travel outside the country because of the felony conviction. It was reported that Marshall has done charity work in other countries and that his conviction, in the post 9-11 era, made it much more problematic to get travel visas.

During the meeting, Grant spoke on Marshall's behalf, saying, "This is a man who represents the image of the Vikings. I'd like to return his dignity and have (the conviction) stricken from his record."

The board's only real point of contention with granting the pardon was that Marshall has had several speeding tickets – the last of which came in 2005. Marshall assured the board that he will slow down and obey the speed limits. The board then approved his pardon.

Marshall's was one of 12 pardon requests heard by the board Monday. Nine were approved and three were denied.

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