116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A University of Iowa senior wrestler who placed second in the NCAA championships last week pleaded guilty Monday to driving while barred as a habitual offender and was ordered to pay a fine.
Montell Marion's guilty plea closes out a string of legal troubles he's had over the past two years. Marion must pay a $625 fine and refrain from driving anywhere other than to and from class until November, according to his attorney Paul Rosenberg of Des Moines.
“And he can't get another ticket,” Rosenberg said.
Marion, a three-time All-American and two-time NCAA runner-up who amassed more than 90 wins with the Hawkeyes, was banned from all team activities after he was arrested in May 2010 on suspicion of drunken driving.
That operating while intoxicated arrest came after Marion had received moving violations for failing to maintain a safe distance and disobeying a traffic signal, Rosenberg said. At the same time he received his OWI, Marion also was cited for failure to give a turn signal and failure to obey a traffic control device.
Marion received a speeding ticket in July, making it his sixth moving violation in two years and warranting a one-year driving ban from the Iowa Department of Transportation, according to Rosenberg.
The DOT mailed him a notice of the driving ban, his attorney said, but Marion had moved and didn't receive it. On Dec. 16, he was pulled over in Iowa City and ticketed for driving while barred.
“He didn't know he had been barred,” Rosenberg said. “The law doesn't require he know. The only responsibility for the Department of Transportation is to mail that to the last known address.”
Marion took responsibility for the violations Monday, his attorney said, when he pleaded guilty and accepted the fine. He was not ordered to probation or community service.
“The reason for the minimum sentence is he didn't knowingly do this,” Rosenberg said. “He never would have driven had he known he was barred.”
Although Marion's license revocation remains in effect until Nov. 19, he has a work permit to drive to and from class, Rosenberg said. Marion probably won't face an additional suspension from the DOT, according to Rosenberg.
Marion's once-permanent suspension from the Hawkeye wrestling program was lifted in January 2011. He had been offered a transfer release from the university but chose to stay and try to regain his spot on the team.
After being reinstated, Marion earned the squad's Mike J. McGivern Award given to the team's most courageous wrestler.
Marion made his second NCAA finals appearance last week and took second place in a battle that went into overtime. Iowa fans gave him a standing ovation as he left the mat.