First sentence given under social host ordinance

Rachel Kytonen

An Isanti woman is the first person sentenced under the Isanti County Social Host Ordinance that was enacted in October.

Lisa Marie Klimek appeared before Judge James Dehn in 10th District Court Friday, April 15. Klimek pled guilty March 23 for a misdemeanor violation of the Social Host Ordinance as a result of a gathering at her home Feb. 5 where four under-age individuals were found consuming alcohol.

Judge Dehn said in court Friday that Klimek was the first person charged and sentenced locally under the Isanti County Social Host Ordinance.

When Judge Dehn asked Klimek about the gathering she said, “I would much rather have them drink at my home where they are safe and can’t leave.”

Before sentencing, Judge Dehn told Klimek her behavior is concerning.

“The court is very concerned about this type of behavior, and underage people consuming alcohol at your residence,” Judge Dehn said. “You may believe that if they are consuming at your house they will not leave, but we know people do leave and go out and commit DUI’s, have accidents and take lives.”

Judge Dehn said jail time is appropriate for this type of offense.

“When someone commits an offense like this, executed jail time is appropriate and we need to send a message to others that this behavior will not be tolerated,” Judge Dehn said. “Your belief that it’s better to have under-agers drink at your home rather than other places is the wrong message, and I can’t accept that.”

Klimek was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 10 days stayed, and given credit for three days already served. Klimek also has to pay $385 in fines, and was put on one-year supervised probation. As part of her probation, Klimek is prohibited from possessing or using alcohol or any other controlled substance; entering any bars or liquor stores; and subject to random drug and alcohol testing.

She also has to follow the recommendations of a chemical dependency evaluation she recently completed, and ordered to attend a victim impact panel, such as MADD, or Minnesota for Safe Driving.

The Social Host Ordinance prohibits and establishes penalties for any person hosting an event or gathering where alcohol is present and being consumed by persons under 21. The ordinance holds the host of the event or gathering criminally responsible when persons under 21 possess or consume alcohol; regardless of whether the person hosting the event or gathering supplied the alcohol.

The ordinance also states that the host of the event or gathering has to ‘knowingly’ realize that underage drinking is taking place at the event or gathering.

Parents cannot be charged under a social host ordinance if, in their presence, they allow their underage child to consume alcohol in their residence.

Along with Isanti County, the cities of Cambridge and Isanti have adopted a Social Host Ordinance, as well as neighboring Chisago County.