An Anoka attorney has found no evidence that Mille Lacs County Attorney Jan Jude provided teens with alcohol at a May 26 bonfire at Jude’s Foreston residence.
Andover City Attorney Scott C. Baumgartner of the Anoka-based Hawkins & Baumgartner P.A. law firm, made the determination on July 23. The Anoka County Sheriff’s Department handled an investigation into allegations that the Jude provided alcohol at a party hosted by her daughter Megan Kolb. Kolb graduated from Milaca High School the previous week and a graduation party had been held at the Jude residence earlier that day.
Authorities went to the Jude home after an unresponsive and intoxicated teenage boy was taken by ambulance to Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton, according to Mille Lacs County Sheriff Brent Lindgren. The teen was allegedly unconscious for some time and had a 0.21 blood alcohol content level.
Anoka County Detective Dan Douglas handed over his investigation reports to Baumgartner for consideration of potential charges.
“Based on my review of these materials, I conclude that there is insufficient evidence of probable cause that would warrant criminal charges,” Baumgartner wrote in a July 23 letter to Douglas obtained by the Mille Lacs County Times.
Baumgartner stated that Douglas’ investigation report included 19 witness statements, including statements from Jan and Russ Jude and their daughter, Kolb. Baumgartner stated the investigation reports left him two things to consider: Did Jude provide alcohol to people under the age of 21 and was there misconduct of a public officer or employee?
Providing alcohol to minors
The case lacks evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Judes provided alcohol to minors on May 26, Baumgartner wrote.
Sixteen people attending the Kolb party made statements to authorities, and none of them indicated that any alcohol was provided by Jan Jude, Baumgartner stated. A majority of those interviewed said that those drinking brought their own alcohol with them or received alcohol from those already at the party, he stated. There was also no evidence that any alcohol at the party came from the Jude home or garage.
Russ and Jan Jude told investigators that they made it clear to their daughter that there would be no underage drinking the night of the bonfire. Kolb confirmed that she was instructed that there would be no alcohol at the party and that her parents had no knowledge that drinking was happening on their property.
“Without solid evidence linking Ms. Jude to the providing of alcohol to a minor, the State will not be able to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt,” Baumgartner stated.
There were no facts suggesting the Judes had knowledge that minors were drinking, either. But Baumgartner rendered irrelevant any consideration of charges regarding knowledge of alcohol consumption because Mille Lacs County does not have a social host ordinance that would allow for criminal charges to be brought based upon knowledge of minor consumption on one’s property, he stated.
Misconduct of public officer
To be charged with misconduct of a public officer or employee, Jan Jude would have had to intentionally failed or refused to perform a known, mandatory, nondiscretionary, ministerial duty of her office. That was not the case, Baumgartner stated.
As a matter of fact, the only duty she would have been obligated to perform is the pursuit of criminal charges against those minors who had consumed alcohol on the night in question, Baumgartner stated. However, in this case, it does not appear that the State could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jan Jude intentionally failed or refused to perform this duty, Baumgartner stated. Baumgartner also stated that there would be a conflict of interest if Jude were to pursue criminal charges against the minors who consumed alcohol on her property. If any of the minors are charged and their cases go to trial, Jan Jude could be called as a witness. That conflict would be a defense to any allegation that her failure or refusal to pursue such charges is intentional, Baumgartner said.
Because the evidence does not support a finding of criminal wrongdoing on the part of Jan Jude, Baumgartner stated, a criminal complaint against Jude will not be issued.