Supreme Court candidate cleared of DWI, guilty of obstruction

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A candidate for Minnesota Supreme Court, Michelle MacDonald, was convicted Wednesday on charges of refusing to submit to a breath test and obstructing the legal process in connection with a traffic stop in April 2013. But a Dakota County jury acquitted her of a drunk driving charge, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

MacDonald was pulled over by police in Rosemount on April 5, 2013, for speeding. When an officer spoke to her, he suspected she may have been drinking and ordered her to get out of her car to undergo a field sobriety test.

MacDonald refused, so another officer was called as backup, and the two of them removed her from her vehicle and arrested her, the Pioneer Press reports.

MacDonald refused to take a blood-alcohol breath test in the field. More than four hours after her arrest, a blood test determined her blood alcohol level was less than .01.

MacDonald, 52, was endorsed in June by delegates at the state Republican Party Convention to run against incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Lillehaug. But the criminal charges against her were not public knowledge at the time.

Once they came to light, party leaders put pressure on MacDonald to give up the endorsement, and tried to ban her from the party's booth at the Minnesota State Fair, according to the Star Tribune. That spurred MacDonald to file a complaint against the Republican Party earlier this month, but it was dismissed by a judge.

Stephen Grigsby, MacDonald’s attorney, said MacDonald plans to appeal her convictions on the resisting arrest and refusal of a breath test charges, according to the Star Tribune. He is not involved in her political campaign, he said.

The judge ordered MacDonald to undergo a psychological evaluation and set a sentencing date of Nov. 12, which is a week after the fall election.

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