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One count dropped in Hudson case

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A Wadena woman whose tough discipline with her daughter became the stuff of headlines this spring had one of two criminal counts dismissed against her in a court appearance earlier this month.

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Janine Hudson, a social worker who was once in charge of parent counseling, went before Judge Jay Carlson Nov. 1 and asked to have two charges thrown out: one count of contributing to the need for child protection or services and one count of child endangerment.

The charges stemmed from a roadside incident on U.S. Highway 10 near Verndale on April 20. Hudson and her 14-year-old daughter argued, and Hudson told her daughter to "either behave or get out of the car," according to court documents. The daughter walked a mile to a friend's house, while Hudson was charged with the two crimes for the incident.

The judge threw out the child endangerment charge at the Nov. 1 hearing.

"While the court does not wish to condone Defendant's [Hudson's] actions or view them as a responsible form of parenting, the actions do not rise to the level of child endangerment," Carlson wrote in his ruling.

However, Carlson ruled there was probable cause to proceed with the contributing to the need for child protection or services charge.

"... the court finds that the action of pulling along the side of the highway and leaving a 14-year-old child on the side of the road demonstrates a lack of parenting skills by Defendant," the judge wrote in his finding. "Although the court does not necessarily believe the Defendant's actions to be egregious, they do provide warning signals of a parent who lacks the emotional stability to use more appropriate forms of discipline, and who cannot reasonably control their frustration."

The judge wrote that his decision to proceed wasn't based on a belief of guilt, just on a belief there's enough evidence to establish probable cause and move ahead with the trial.

Hudson said she's already decided to appeal that decision with the appellate court. No court date has been set.

Hudson said she took a month leave of absence from her job at Wadena County Social Services, mostly because of the stress of the attention she's gotten.

During that time, Hudson said she had another domestic incident with her daughter which resulted in charges against her.

In an incident on Oct. 21, Janine Hudson's 14-year-old child was getting ready for church when Hudson confronted her about an earring, according to court documents. Her mother tried to get her to remove the earring and allegedly took the daughter to the ground, pulling her hair in the process, according to court reports. Hudson allegedly sat on her daughter several times, scratching her arms and hands. An officer photographed the scratches on the daughter. Hudson was arrested for domestic assault, a misdemeanor. Bail was later posted. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3.

When she returned to work, Hudson's employer put her on leave.

Hudson said she's had a hard time asserting control over her daughter after their argument became so public.

"You have a child who thinks she can do whatever she wants and no one can stop her," Hudson said of the incident. "She won't listen anymore. Why should she? She has the police and the county attorney to back her up."

Hudson, who did eight years of parental education for social services, said she's going to fight on in this case on principle. She said she has the right to exercise tough-love parenting.

"We're not parenting our teenagers," Hudson said. "They're taking over."

She said she's had a lot of feedback from people about the case, with most encouraging her to fight on.

"I have had wonderful support from people who have heard the whole story," Hudson said. "I've also been told to shut up. But those words just aren't in my vocabulary."

Pioneer Journal reporter Anna Erickson contributed to this story.

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