After pleading guilty to leaving baby in car at casino, woman threatened, tires deflated

A Cloquet woman was sentenced Monday for possession of marijuana and for leaving her baby in the car while she went inside the Black Bear Casino to gamble June 16, 2012.

A Cloquet woman was sentenced Monday for possession of marijuana and for leaving her baby in the car while she went inside the Black Bear Casino to gamble June 16, 2012.

Jordanne Teryce Setterquist, 26, was arrested and charged June 16 after Fond du Lac police officers were dispatched to the casino parking lot regarding the report of an infant who was left in an unattended vehicle in the casino parking lot for approximately 45 minutes.

Since the story about Setterquist's charges was published in both the Pine Journal and Duluth News Tribune recently, Setterquist's attorney, Sonia Sturdevant, said she fears for the safety of her client because she's been receiving threats.

"Jordanne is a nice young woman who made a mistake," Sturdevant said. "This is not a hardened criminal - this is a young woman who made a mistake."

According to the criminal complaint:


In response to a call from the casino, two Fond du Lac officers and State Trooper Dave Vereecken arrived and found an infant in a car seat in the back of the vehicle. They were advised by casino security officers that the child had been left unattended in the vehicle for the previous 45 minutes.

A search of the plate revealed the owner of the car; subsequently officers learned the owner's daughter, Jordanne Setterquist, was mother to an infant. When one of the officers went into the casino, he learned Setterquist had a Black Bear Casino players' card which was presently in use at a particular machine.

While the officer was locating Setterquist inside, another officer found a purse in the vehicle and looked inside to try to find information that would identify the driver. He found a baggie of marijuana and a one-hitter pipe, along with two different types of pills - later identified as lortab and a morphine sulfate pill - in an unmarked prescription bottle.

When officers confronted Setterquist, she confirmed it was her baby in the car and acknowledged that she did not have a prescription for the pills. She was subsequently booked at the Carlton County jail.

In court earlier this month, Setterquist pleaded guilty to one count of fifth-degree drug possession and contributing to need for child protection, while three other charges were dropped: a second drug possession charge, possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle, and possession of drug paraphernalia. On Monday, she also pleaded guilty to an unrelated petty misdemeanor charge of shoplifting.

"My client goes to school 40 hours a week; she's trying hard to turn her life around," said Sturdevant. "Since the story [on this case] came out in the paper, she has been repeatedly threatened and her tires were deflated. She worked with social services and she has her child back. She has done everything that has been asked of her."

Sturdevant also asked for a "hardship" ruling regarding $500 in court fees related to the case.

Judge Dale Wolf did not condone the harsh reactions of some people, but he did note that the negative community reaction was a result of her actions as a mother.


"Leaving a child that amount of time in an unlocked car is not good care taking," he said.

Wolf sentenced Setterquist to a year in jail, but stayed 305 days. She may or may not have to serve 60 days local confinement (47 actual days with credit for 13 days already served) starting Aug. 23, depending on the results of a review hearing set for Aug. 21.

"You have to come back here and show us whether you want to be reporting back [to the jail] or stay out," Wolf said, before adding that he would also review the $500 fine at the same August hearing.

In addition, Wolf ordered Setterquist to continue with family-mental health counseling and to abstain from all drug or alcohol use, except what she is prescribed by her doctor. Her probation period was set at three years.

"The drugs are illegal," he said, noting that there were more reasons than health for him to order that she abstain. "Alcohol may be legal, but it reflects priority as well. If you don't have enough money for other things, then you don't have enough money for alcohol."

Wolf closed the hearing by wishing Setterquist good luck in her efforts at school and her continued efforts to be a good mother.

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