2013 Complaint Against Judge David L. Knutson Alleges Misconduct, Malice

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson

“The rule of law was not adhered to and the entire trial was simulated litigation… ALL Judge Knutson’s orders are not merely voidable, these orders are already VOID.” ~ K.B. Complaint Against Judge Knutson

Shame on you for allowing this family to be torn apart by your orders. Shame on you for forcing children into a relationship with a father they are terrified of. Shame on you for forcing these children to make the drastic decision to go on the run in order to protect themselves…In cases like this I have to wonder how our system got to the point that destroying families in today’s society is ok.” ~ L.M. letter to Judge David Knutson

(Hastings, Minn) A complaint filed against Judge David L. Knutson on September 4, 2013, outlines his mishandling of the Grazzini-Rucki case. The complaint also describes how Judge Knutson’s reckless actions contributed to ongoing chaos in the lives of the Rucki children, and deprived Sandra Grazzini-Rucki of her rights. The complaint concludes that Judge Knutson acted with malice, that there is no other reasonable explanation for his conduct.

According to the complaint, “The record on case no. 19AV-FA-11-1273 shows a disturbing pattern where throughout, Judge Knutson has engaged in multiple acts of misconduct and actual bias, has repeatedly violated parties rights, and consistently fails to follow the law…

Judge Knutson has repeatedly denied the mother (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki) any and all contact with her children without any findings of endangerment, abuse or parental unfitness. In addition, throughout this case, Judge Knutson has made absurd statements in an attempt to somehow justify abuses of discretion.

The complaint accuses Judge Knutson of a “pervasive pattern of misconduct and impropriety” that includes:

-Bias, “acts for improper purpose to deny one party’s fundamental rights

-Making false statements of material facts

-Failure to follow the law

-Failure to follow the children’s “Best Interest”

-That Judge Knutson ordered Sandra to use specific providers he hand selected under the guise of therapy; yet these providers do not provide therapy. Rather, they provide forensic evidence for use against the mother.

-Judge Knutson abused his authority by forcing Sandra, under the threat of arrest, to disclose her location and phone number to a known abuser (whom she received a protective order against). This directly contradicts  a Minnesota law requiring judges to protect victims of stalking and abuse, and to prevent such disclosures of information to the abuser.

-Acting with malice

Read complaint in its entirety: Complaint Against Dakota County Judge David Knutson (Red Herring Alert)

On September 11, 2013, attorney Michelle MacDonald filed a Federal Civil Rights Action against Judge Knutson on behalf on Sandra Grazzini-Rucki.

The Grazzini-Rucki custody trial commenced one week after this complaint was filed, on September 12, 2013. Which means that Judge Knutson was under investigation while presiding over a case that he was accused of misconduct on. Judge Knutson was also presiding over a case while a Federal Civil Rights Action against him was pending.

At the beginning of trial, MacDonald asked Judge Knutson to recuse himself, which he refused to do stating, “With respect to you notifying me that I’ve been made party to some Federal lawsuit for civil rights violations, I’m not aware of that. I have no information about that. I’m not concerned about that. We’re going to proceed…” MacDonald presses on, reminding Judge Knutson that she wrote him a letter to inform him about the lawsuit. Judge Knutson’s initial response is evasive then he admits he did receive notice of the lawsuit, and recounts some details. Which means Judge Knutson is caught lying in court. Judge Knutson refuses to recuse himself, and moves forward with trial stating “I‘m not going to hold that against your client or prejudice your client for something you do” and states a Federal Civil Rights Action is “irrelevant“.


The Board of Judicial Standards responded on November 12, 2013, and determined, despite overwhelming evidence of each of these claims, that the complaint “
required no further action“. The Board further determined that the allegations did not sway them to take disciplinary action because the merits were not proven with a “clear and convincing standard“. It is unclear if the Board was aware of Judge Knutson’s conduct during the custody trial.

The Civil Rights Action faced a similar fate, excusing Judge Knutson’s actions under the guide of judicial immunity.

On November 25, 2013, David Rucki is granted sole custody of all 5 children. At the time of the order he was on probation for a guilty plea involving an OFP violation (Case No. 19AV-CR-11-14682, discharged from probation 10/17/2014. Judge Karen Asphaug conducted pre-trial on that case). 

On February 11, 2014, Judge Knutson filed a complaint against attorney Michelle MacDonald with the Lawyer’s Board. MacDonald said about the complaint, “Judge Knutson’s complaint came after I complained about to him to the Board of Judicial Standards about this: On September 12, 2013, Judge Knutson had me participate as an attorney in a client’s child custody trial in handcuffs, a wheelchair, with no shoes, no glasses, no paper, no pen, no files,missing children – and no client. This was the day after I had filed a federal civil rights action against him, on behalf of that client…MNBar.org Michelle MacDonald Candidate Information A hearing was recently held concerning the complaint against MacDonald, a ruling has not been issued at the time of this blog post.

Judge Knutson now sits as a member on the Board of Judicial Standards. No one in the family court system has been held accountable for the disastrous results of the Grazzini-Rucki case despite numerous complaints being filed.

When abuse allegations, and concerns for the safety of the Rucki children, were raised in this case the Court’s focus was not on the welfare of the children but instead pursued a dangerous agenda. Instead of protecting the children from harm, Judge Knutson and the various professionals involved, inflicted of trauma on children to force reunification with the parent they feared by taking an “assertive stance..to expose them to the object of their fear” and to “desensitize them“. (Dr. Gilbertson Letter).  The Court sought to silence by any means, the parent, Sandra, who sought to protect the children and thereby, stood in the way. The events that led up to the Rucki girls running away is a direct result of the court’s own failings. 

Had Judge Knutson, the professionals, appropriately responded to abuse allegations raised by the Rucki children and worked to protect them, there might have been a different outcome than a family completely destroyed; and children who may never recover from the abuses inflicted on them.

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For More Information:

Complaint by K.B. Against Judge Knutson

Chaos, Horror After Courts Step in for Rucki Family by Michael Volpe

Pressured, Threatened S. Rucki Bravely Speaks Out Against “Horrendous” Family Court

Potential State Witness Wrote Letter to Judge Knutson – Criticizing Court’s Failure to Protect Rucki Children from Abuse

Impoverished David Rucki Hires 2 Private Law Firms

David Rucki - Screenshot taken from ABC video. Source: CDN.

David Rucki – Screenshot taken from ABC video. Source: CDN.

David Rucki claims indigence, hires two private lawyers by Michael Volpe (CDN)

(Lakeville, Minnesota) “New information shows that David Rucki, whose contentious divorce and custody case received national media attention, hired two private law firms at the same time he claimed he was on public assistance.”

Attempts to further investigate have been challenged,“An email to James Backstrom, the head prosecutor whose office prosecuted Sandra Grazzini-Rucki for her role in her daughters’ disappearance, asking if this apparent welfare fraud would be prosecuted was left unreturned.

An email to Lakeville, Minnesota, David Rucki’s home town, Mayor Matt Little was also left unreturned; Little put out a Facebook post when the news of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki’s conviction was publicized congratulating Backstrom’s office; CDN asked Little if he favored an investigation of David Rucki into this alleged welfare fraud in the interest of fairness…”

Some additional information:

1. Lisa M. Elliott filed a responsive affidavit in July 2015, stating she has represented David Rucki since May 2011 and charges $310 an hour for her services.

 

Responsive Affidavit, Lisa Elliot, 7/2/2015

Responsive Affidavit, Lisa Elliot, 7/2/2015

 

2. The second attorney is Marshall H. Tanick, who represented Rucki in writing letters to two blog administrators, threatening civil claims “…that could lead to litigation seeking substantial damages against you and others“. Hellmuth and Johnson letter to Dede Evavold on behalf of David Rucki It is not clear if Rucki continues to retain Marshall H. Tanick.

3. Dede Evavold has filed a witness tampering complaint against Rucki in connection with this letter: Dede’s Criminal Complaint For Witness Tampering Against David Rucki & Former Star Tribune Hack Michael Brodkorb

The letter was sent to Mayor Matt Little (Lakeville), who is reportedly refusing to accept the complaint.

Dede wrote in her complaint: “After returning home on Sunday, June 12, 2016 I found what I consider a harassing and threatening extortion letter in my mailbox. The extortion letter was from David Rucki’s attorney Marsahll H. Tanick, Attorney at Law, Hellmuth & Johnson, PLLC.

I had a reasonable suspicion the wild, outrageous and unsubstantiated claims contained in the harassing and threatening extortion letter were meant to intimidate me into deleting the blog, Red Herring Alert, that I shared with Susan Carpenter. I also had a reasonable suspicion that Rucki’s harassing and threatening extortion letter was designed to coerce me into changing not only my plea but to coerce me into changing my testimony in Sandra’s rigged case.”

4. A complaint was previously filed against Tammy Jo Love, David Rucki’s sister, for medical assistance fraud in 2014.

Allegations include: Receiving medical assistance (MA) benefits for the Rucki children who do not live with her, and do not qualify for MA. Abusing her license as a chiropractor to illegally gain access to Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the children’s private medical information.

No public information is available on what happened after this complaint was filed; it appears no action was taken. Criminal charges were not filed.

https://www.scribd.com/doc/312673149/Tammy-Jo-Love-Ma-Fraud-Report-to-Dhs

Rucki is now employed with a trucking business being held in the name of his sister, T.L. Rucki Trucking. Rucki claims he has no ownership in T.L. Rucki Trucking, but reports that he is running the business from his home.  At the same time, Love’s vacation rental condo is listed as the business address. Paystubs issued from T.L. Rucki Trucking have been submitted to the Court to support Rucki’s statement that he is impoverished, and qualifies for medical assistance.

David Rucki’s Attorney, Lisa Elliott.  (Source: Red Herring Alert)

David Rucki’s Attorney, Lisa Elliott. (Source: Red Herring Alert)

 

5. Lisa Elliot has been implicated in a complaint of mortgage fraud involving David Rucki: Another Day in Lawless Lakeville: Fraud & Financial Abuse Allegations Surround David Rucki

Mortgage Fraud Allegations, Ireland Place. Rucki was accused of laundering money through real estate transactions. Other allegations include: Mortgage stacking, Title washing and Foreclosure fraud. Others accused involved: Robert Shingledecker, Sawbill Strategic, Inc., Attorney Lisa Elliott, Jacob Sellers, NJD Properties, LLC and Danmark Properties, LLC.

According to the complaint, “David Rucki and his attorney Lisa Elliot represented the estate in the foreclosure action. In 2012 and 2013 the defendants are alleged to have illegally washed the title of 19675 Ireland Place property of the original mortgage to make a new dollar mortgage obtained in the name of the above identified individuals and companies.  Proceeds of the stacked mortgage flowed into accounts controlled by David Rucki and other numerous parties, leads back to David Rucki and his attorney Lisa Elliot. This property is and has been in foreclosure (and foreclosed on), for sale (and sold 3 different times) in sheriff’s sale (and sold through sheriff’s sale) 7 different times in the last 10 months.

Source: Red Herring Alert Ireland Place Mortgage Fraud Allegations & Documentation

For more info:

Grazzini-Rucki Child Support Hearing Raises Concerns of Fraud, Abuse of Discretion

 

 

 

Judge Karen Asphaug Issues Nationwide Warrant for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki While Still Held in Jail – Homeless Sandra Told to Give Court an Address

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

Judge Karen Asphaug (Twitter)

Furthermore, the court accepts Ms. MacDonald’s representation that Petitioner (SGR) is homeless. A person who is homeless, by definition has no residence.” ~ Judge John R. McBride, dismissing OFP petition Grazzini-Rucki v. Brodkorb, 9/22/2016

Dakota County, MN: Judge Karen Asphaug issued a nationwide arrest warrant for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, citing a probation violation for not disclosing her address to the court. Sandra is currently homeless, and not a resident of the state of Minnesota. The arrest warrant comes even though Sandra is already being held in jail, and no bail hearing has ever been conducted. Judge Asphaug insists that Sandra must complete her sentence with 6 years of probation and conditions, forcing her to live in Minnesota for the duration of probation. Judge Asphaug refuses to allow Sandra to finish her sentence in prison. Judge Asphaug is wasting valuable time and resources of the courts, correctional department and costing the tax payers of Dakota County when this case could be quickly, and efficiently resolved by having Sandra complete her sentence in prison.

Source: Dakota County Jail Inmate Search November 2016

Source: Dakota County Jail Inmate Search November 2016

On Monday, November 21, 2016, at 9 am, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki will face Judge Karen Asphaug for a hearing concerning the alleged probation violation. According to records, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was taken into custody on November 3, 2016, and is currently in custody at the Ramsey County Workhouse. The violation concerns Sandra’s alleged “refusal” to provide the courts with an address to where she lives. Why has an arrest warrant been issued against someone who is already being held in jail? Sandra has not even had a bail hearing. Usually the court places a hold on a prisoner NOT issue a nationwide warrant. Homeless Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has made so many appearances in the Dakota County Judicial Center, that indeed, it could be listed as her address.

Dakota Co. Courthouse

For Judge Asphaug to demand that Sandra disclose an address is ridiculous – Sandra is considered long-term homeless, meaning she does not have a permanent address. Sandra also is not a resident of the state of Minnesota. Sandra was arrested by US Marshals on October 18, 2015 in Florida for felony deprivation of parental rights and subsequently brought to Minnesota, and booked into jail on November 5th. Since November 5, 2015, Sandra has been homeless – she has been held in jail for much of that time, and alternately, reported to be “couch hopping”.

 

Sandra is considered “long term homeless” meaning she has been lacking a permanent place to live for a year or more, or has been homeless at least 4 times in the past 3 years (both requirements for long-term homeless apply to Sandra). Many homeless individuals resort to “Couch hopping”; which is a term for temporary shelter (i.e. sleeping on the couch). Couch Hopping does not offer permanent shelter, so even if an individual is temporarily staying in one location, it is not considered a permanent address. In Sandra’s situation, she has only been able to obtain temporary shelter, she is homeless and without an address.

Factors to becoming long-term homeless include: being previously homeless for long periods of time, faced with a situation or set of circumstances likely to cause the individual to become homeless in the near future, discharged from a correctional facility, lack of sufficient resources and unable to pay for a place to live. ALL of these factors apply to Sandra. Minnesota Housing Finance Agency: Long-Term Homeless Definitions

Further, Findings of Fact (#6) and testimony from the September HRO hearing validate that indeed Sandra is homeless, and without a permanent address, “Petitioner’s lawyer, Ms. MacDonald, informed the Court that her client is “homeless.” (Ms. MacDonald used the word homeless.) Ms. MacDonald further indicated that her client had been homeless since the year 2012. Ms. MacDonald stated that she had permitted Petitioner to stay in her office, and that her client was staying there at the time of filing the instant petition. Ms. MacDonald did not indicate how long her client had been staying in her office.“ Defendant Michael Brodkorb also argued the HRO be dismissed on grounds of “improper venue” meaning Sandra had not proven her address to be permanently residing in Washington County. Judge McBride later accepted that Sandra is homeless, and has no permanent residence; his ruling to dismiss the HRO is based on Sandra’s inability to prove residency in Washington County.

Judge McBride determined in his ruling that, “3. Minn. Stat. § 609.748 does not supply a definition of the term residence. Elsewhere in the law, however, residence is defined as “the place where a party has established a permanent home from which the party has no present intention of moving.” Minn. Stat. § 518.003, subd. 9. It is doubtful that Petitioner ever established a “permanent home” in her lawyer’s office. 4. Furthermore, the Court accepts Ms. MacDonald’s representation that Petitioner is homeless. A person who is homeless, by definition, has no residence. It follows that Petitioner does not have a residence in Washington County.

Public Domain: http://absfreepic.com

Public Domain: http://absfreepic.com

Second, Judge Asphaug is basically demanding that a resident (who?!?!) in Minnesota offer to give Sandra shelter, at their own financial expense, and endure the invasions of legal involvement on their own personal lives just so Sandra can comply with probation…for the next 7 years.

Those who have offered temporary shelter or shown support of Sandra have faced retaliation from David Rucki and his sister, Tammy Love, and/or been subjected to intrusive, and unwanted, legal and police action. Some examples – police seeking information about Sandra sought a warrant to search the home of a friend, the home was ransacked and personal property unrelated to the case, and not subject of the warrant, went missing (never to be recovered).

In another incident, The Carver County Corruption blog and The Red Herring Alert blog both published news and information about the Grazzini-Rucki case and were later threatened with legal action, and possible criminal charges, from David Rucki who was represented by a high-buck attorney, Marshall H. Tanick. The administrator of the Carver County blog was so terrified that she shut down her blog completely, and one administrator from Red Herring Alert has also removed herself from the blog, and attempted to erase the articles she had written out of fear.

In another incident, Sandra temporarily stayed at a residential apartment held belonging to her family law attorney, Michelle MacDonald (the apartment is used for business purposes including hosting clients). The address of the apartment was blasted all over news media and the internet, interfering in the privacy of not only MacDonald but the neighbors as well. Michael Brodkorb hired a private investigator to do surveillance, and take photos and video of the apartment. Brodkorb continues to make active efforts to discover where Sandra is staying, and with whom.  It is no wonder that Sandra can not find a temporary place to live in Minnesota… which would involve not just a few days but a full 7 years of her probation! Anyone who offered Sandra shelter would be subjected to terms of probation that would include having their home randomly searched. Not to mention the threat of legal action by David Rucki. Who would sign up for that? What Judge Asphaug is asking is outrageous – there is a simple, and efficient solution and that is to have Sandra serve the remainder of her sentence in prison.

It is wrong for Judge Asphaug to seek criminal charges against Sandra for an alleged “probation violation” for a crisis that Judge Asphaug alone is responsible for. Sandra has complied with the terms of probation, she does not pose a risk to the public. The challenges Sandra is facing directly relate to her being homeless, and also relate to the ongoing retaliation and legal abuse perpetrated on her by David Rucki and by extension his attorney, Lisa Elliot, and corrupt agents the Dakota County court and legal system.

 

Items of Concern:

  1. Judge Asphaug’s mishandling of the criminal case of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki do not serve the best interest of justice.
  2. Sandra has requested to execute her sentence, and shown a willingness to complete her sentence in prison. Judge Asphaug has refused to allow Sandra to execute, and has recently requested that Sandra be placed on a GPS/Ankle Bracelet. Judge Asphaug is going against the recommendation of the probation officer, who has requested to the court that Sandra’s probation be revoked, and that she be sent back to jail.
  3. Sandra does not have the ability to pay for the costs associated with the GPS/Ankle Bracelet. She is currently not working, and her only source of income is a minimal amount public assistance. She is struggling to survive and not able to meet the basic costs of living let alone to afford massive court fines, and exorbitant child support payments (that is based on imputed income and not actual evidence).
  4. Sandra was afforded a public defender. Judge Asphaug has revoked the public defender. Meaning Sandra is now going to court without legal representation, and lacking the proper knowledge needed to defend herself.
  5. Sandra’s situation meets the criteria for long-term homeless; she should not be punished because she does not have a permanent address. Additionally, Sandra had been living out of state when she was brought to Minnesota to face criminal charges – she has not resided in Minnesota for several years. The nature of how and why Sandra was brought to Minnesota, demonstrates that she would not have a permanent address here.
  6. When an individual is considered long-term homeless, they may seek temporary shelter known as “couch hopping”. Temporary shelter does not count as permanent or stable housing. That Sandra does not reveal an address is not a probation violation, it is an expression of her being homeless – she does not know where she will be staying, or how long she will be allowed to stay there.
  7. Sandra does not pose a danger to herself, to the community, or to anyone else. She has complied with her probation, and conditions of release. The challenges Sandra is facing is directly related to the experience of being homeless. Due to the conditions of her probation she is unable to work in her profession as a flight attendant because she cannot leave the state. Sandra lacks the resources to maintain housing. For Judge Asphaug to refuse to allow Sandra to complete the rest of her sentence in prison is cruel and unusual punishment because Judge Asphaug is condemning Sandra to stay in Minnesota for 7 years in a situation where she would be homeless, unable to support herself, and at risk of emotional and physical harm while she is struggling to survive.
  8. Minnesota Law allows for revocation of probation, which is what should be done in Sandra’s case. Judge Asphaug is wasting the valuable time and resources of the courts, law enforcement and the correctional facility pursuing this reckless course of action against Sandra. In addition, tax payer dollars are being wasted. – It is unjust for the Grazzini-Rucki case to cost the citizens of Dakota County, and the state, so much when this case can be quickly resolved by revoking probation, and allowing Sandra to complete the rest of her sentence in prison. 

     

     

Grazzini-Rucki Case Discussed On NAASCA Talk Show – “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”

Listen in on Blog Talk Radio: “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” – Grazzini-Rucki Case Discussed

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Comments:There is a mother and 5 children who have been irreparably damaged here…

“The victims and the mother went to the system and law enforcement for protection, they were abused by the system again, on top of the abuse by the father...”

SPECIAL TOPIC  – “For Our Kids” – Deborah Maddison and Eugenea Couture, Canadian activists from British Columbia, will join Bill Murray to lead this evening’s discussion about the Rights of Children and Families in North America.

“Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely” ~~ Why should judges be allowed to abuse their power and violate the laws and rights they are sworn to uphold?

Judge David L Knutson

Judge David L Knutson Presided Over Grazzini-Rucki Family Court Case

Tonight we look at one of the most corrupt and unbelievable divorce and custody cases we’ve ever seen in North America. The Grazzini-Rucki case has been voraciously covered so many of you may think you know what happened from the many distorted media reports that have been put out but we assure you that the real facts of this case are beyond shocking.

Join us tonight for an inside look on this story on the “For Our Kids” show as we speak with journalist and co-author of the book ‘Sandra Grazzi-Rucki and The World’s Last Custody Trial’, Michael Volpe. Michelle MacDonald, Sandra Rucki’s Attorney and co-author of the book, will also be joining us to provide an inside look at this trial and the outrageous abuses that occurred. Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World’s Last Custody Trial

We’re also pleased to welcome Dr. Jill Jones-Soderman, Director of Foundation of the Child Victims of the Family Courts to bring her unique perspective as to what really went on in this case and who the Real victims and offenders are.

Please see our web page at: www.NAASCA.org/ForOurKids or write to: naasca.forourkids@gmail.com

Judge Karen Asphaug “Encouraged Lawlessness” Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Turns Herself in After Warrant Issued

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November 2, 2016, Washington County, Minnesota:

Dakota County issued an arrest warrant against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, in connection with an alleged probation violation for failing to maintain contact with the probation officer. Sandra voluntarily turned herself in tonight after discovering a warrant had been issued, and is now in custody.

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These sad events happened on the birthday of Sandra’s daughter, a subject of this criminal case who ran away in April 2013 from an unsafe home. The daughter has been unable to see or contact her mother in any way. – A mother who once was her primary caregiver, and whom she wanted to live with before the Courts condemned her to live with an abuser. The daughter wrote a letter stating the reason why she ran away, that included, “We fought back, begging them not to put us in the care of Tammy that we were afraid for our lives, and told them that Tammy and my father had abused us. But they didn’t care.” Another of the Rucki children also reported that Tammy abused her to the Lakeville police, who failed to make a mandatory report. Judge Karen Asphaug, and ADA Kathryn Keena are now claiming Tammy Love and David Rucki are “victims” to the detriment of the children – who are the REAL victims in this case.

The outrageous legal antics of Judge Karen Asphaug instigated these recent developments, in what can only be described as a circus – a waste of precious law enforcement resources, at tremendous expense to the tax payers of Dakota County. Many in the judicial system outside of Dakota County have expressed shock at how the Grazzini-Rucki case has been mishandled, and expressed concern over the amount of power a judge can exert over people’s lives, and how easily that power can be abused.

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Dakota County Circus

Under Minnesota law, the maximum time allowed under sentencing guidelines for felony deprivation of parental rights is up to 1 year and 1 day in prison. Sandra stepped forward, asked to finish her sentence in prison, and complete her sentence so she can then return to her home, out of state. All avenues kids to see or maintain contact with her children have been blocked, so that is not an option for Sandra.

Supporters of David Rucki demanded that Sandra be sent to prison, multiple comments posted online demanded prison. However, during sentencing, Judge Karen Asphaug issued an unusual sentence that involves a lengthy probation period of 6 years with yearly stints in jail, in addition a yearly requirement of sentence to serve, excessive monetary fines, compliance with all 3,400 family court orders issued by Judge David L Knutson and additional conditions that are impossible to afford financially or not humanly possible to comply with.  Judge Asphaug implemented this unusual sentencing after ADA Kathryn Keena asked for an aggravated sentence but was not allowed to inflict a harsher sentence, than the law allowed, because the nature of the crime did not meet guidelines. Sandra immediately asked to execute her sentence, as this was the only feasible option, and later was given a hearing.

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

Assistant Dakota County Attorney, Kathryn Keena

The cost to tax payers to for the cost to jail Sandra, and enforce a lengthy probation is astronomical. According to a recent study, “...The average annual income of every Minnesota resident is roughly equal to the average annual cost per inmate in our prison system.”  Average Annual Cost of Minnesota Prisons: $41,364 Per Inmate in 2010 by Jay Carey

The expenses incurred on Sandra alone could easily double that figure, and would be better spent elsewhere in the criminal justice system. Sandra Grazzini-Rucki poses no danger to society, and is willing to do her time in prison and complete her sentence. The only obstacle to a resolution in this case is Judge Asphaug, who insists on a punishment that is both cruel and unusual.

If Sandra were to be jailed in the Ramsey County Workhouse, the cost is paid for by the tax payers of Dakota County. The cost to house an inmate in the Workhouse is an estimated $70 per day, already Sandra has served 170 days there – so far Dakota County spent close to $12,000 to incarcerate her. If Judge Karen Asphaug sends Sandra back to the Workhouse she could waste up to $17,000+ of Dakota County tax payer’s money. However, if Sandra were allowed to execute,and were sent to prison the cost wound be reimbursed through federal funding, and the case would be quickly resolved. All of these extraordinary measures are directed toward a non-violent offender who poses no risk to the community. Sandra’s only “crime” is protecting her children from abuse after multiple levels of the system (family court, police, court ordered therapy, CPS, juvenile court/CHIPS petition etc.) ignored the Rucki children’s cries for help.

The family court system, led by Judge Knutson, used force and intimidation to order the Rucki children into the custody of the abusive father, who they feared.  The abuse that happened is effectively being covered up. 

freakydoor

Sandra’s former criminal attorney, Stephen Grigsby, previously argued for an executed sentence during the September 21st hearing– meaning Sandra would serve her entire sentence in jail. Grigsby stated to the court, that refusing her this right would “encourage lawlessness” and “dare” Sandra to violate probation.

The defendant in the above-entitled matter hereby moves the Court to execute her sentence.

ARGUMENT

Not withstanding the provisions of 609.135, subd. 7, which purports to deny the defendant the right to execute a sentence, the right inheres in the basic ability of a defendant to demand, either by a formal demand or a deliberate violation of probation.

The latter (violation of probation) encourages lawlessness and wastes time and resources.

Eventually a probationer can assure the execution of a sentence by refusing to comply with probation and it therefore makes no sense to dare her to do so when there is a desire to refuse to comply with probation and serve her executed sentence.”

Attorney Stephen Grigsby, Motion to Execute (Sandra Grazzini-Rucki), 9/21/2016

During the hearing, Judge Asphaug waltzed into court, waving a paper to show that she had found a case that would justify her reasons to refuse prison. She promptly imposed probation on Sandra.The case cited did not match any of the circumstances in the Grazzini-Rucki criminal trial. Judge Asphaug then denied the motion to execute her sentence. Grigsby responded, “This was really an irrational act by the court.”

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Judge Karen Asphaug

If Sandra had been allowed to execute her sentence, she would serve up to 8 months in prison, and then be released having completed her sentence. Isn’t that the purpose of the criminal justice system? Have a defendant serve their time, and return to society as a law abiding citizen? What Judge Asphaug is doing is NOT promoting justice.

After sentencing, Sandra was immediately taken into custody, and served an additional 34 days in the Workhouse then was released into probation on October 24th. Allegations of a probation violation followed soon after.

Sandra’s criminal conviction resulted after Sandra courageously fought to protect her children from abuse. When the courts, CPS, and police failed to protect them, two of the oldest Rucki girls ran away. Sandra’s role in assisting her teen daughters is not an act of a criminal – but is the actions of a mother who “reasonably believed the action taken was necessary to protect the person taking the action from physical or sexual assault” and raised this affirmative defense during her criminal trial. Minn. Statute 609.26 – Includes Affirmative Defense Judge Asphaug suppressed 75% of defense evidence, blocking Sandra from presenting the affirmative defense to the jury, that would prove abuse did occur.

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is not a hardened criminal, not a danger to society or to anyone else. Just the opposite – Sandra is a loving mother of 5 children, was an active volunteer at school events and PTA, was an enthusiastic community volunteer (working on projects throughout the state of Minnesota) who was always willing to help others with a generous and sincere heart, former Mrs. Lakeville and a respected flight attendant of 30+ years with a spotless record.

Sandra’s life has been completely destroyed after seeking a divorce from a wealthy, well-connected abuser, David Rucki, who has misused the court system to further abuse her, and exact revenge. Everything Sandra loved, everything that was important to her life, has been brutally taken from her – her children, her extended family, her home, all of her belongings (even her clothing and toiletries taken by court order), her financial stability, her career – and now her freedom. This all started with a divorce, in which a victim of domestic violence asked for protection for herself and her children but instead was re-abused by the system that favored, and enabled the perpetrator, who continues to abuse through the legal system. 

Sandra, is well-loved and respected in the community, she does not deserve the harsh punishment meted out by Judge Asphaug and Dakota County. Sandra is not a criminal. She an abuse survivor who was pushed into making a heart-breaking decision after the court system and legal system failed to protect her children…the system continues to fail the Grazzini-Rucki family today.

 

Also Read:

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki is sentenced in domestic case by Michael Volpe

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Sentenced After Judge Asphaug Disallows Nearly All of Defense Evidence

Minnesota mom chooses prison for hiding 2 teen daughters

Keena Drops Aggravated Sentence Against Sandra Grazzini-Rucki

 

 

David Rucki is Not a “Victim” – He is an Abuser (Commentary)

We’d lock ourselves in the bedroom because we’re scared. We just didn’t know how his behavior was going to be from one day to the next.” Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, ABC 20/20

Children report abuse and neglect/domestic violence by father...” CPS screened out maltreatment report, 10/28/2011

Why is the State of Minnesota and the media covering up the abuse of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and children at the hands of David Rucki? Media portrayals of the Grazzini-Rucki case have sensationalized this tragic case at the expense of the children; and embraced the identified abuser David Rucki, and his co-abuser sister, Tammy Jo Love, as “victims”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The true victims are the five Rucki children.

playingvictim

David Rucki is not a “victim” – he is an abuser. Domestic violence does not simply end when the victim leaves the relationship but will continue in the attitude and actions of the abuser, and the tactics they use to gain power and control. Abusers will manipulate the legal system and triangulate people/professionals in order to intimidate, control and further abuse the victim from afar. This is what is happening in the Grazzini-Rucki case.

davidraging2

When the Rucki children bravely spoke up to disclose abuse and expressed fear of their father, every level of the system that should have protected them – CPS, family court, police, therapist, GAL etc – not only failed but enabled the abuse to continue. Numerous reports of physical, emotional, and psychological abuse have been documented. Numerous police reports and CPS reports have been filed. Numerous OFP violations, with a CPS report filed after one violation. The Rucki children came forward with their own statements, in their own words – writing letters, speaking to Judge Knutson, and many others about the abuse, stating they are afraid of their father, David Rucki. The Rucki children displayed behavioral and emotional symptoms consistent with abuse, witnessed by multiple people who have interacted with them. In fact, when Rucki was awarded sole custody of the children, he was on probation for a domestic violence charge with an OFP violation. Further, a social worker appointed to the care of the runaway Rucki girls in November 2015 determined that in her professional opinion abuse did occur, there is a real safety concern, and the Rucki girls needed to be protected from their father. Instead of being protected, the Rucki child were court ordered to live in abuse; and now Dakota County is covering up the abuse to hide their own failures.

TearsDakotaCounty

David Rucki’s history demonstrates a propensity towards violence. Repeated attempts to address his behaviors (that included anger management, probation, and reunification therapy) have all failed.To claim that Rucki – who has terrorized his family and the community- is a “victim” is outrageous and a slap in the face to victims of domestic violence, and abuse, everywhere.

David Rucki

David Rucki

Consider this – a small sample of documentation showing that David Rucki is an abuser NOT a “victim” :

12/3/1994: David Rucki instigates a violent bar fight, and had to be hauled away by police after he refused to leave. The police report notes, “Def started to argue and swear and at one time threatened to get tough with employees…Def swore and hollered at officers all the way to the jail.” https://www.scribd.com/doc/310795988/filename-1-1-pdf

2/27/2011: Neighbors install security cameras on their home because of David Rucki. Rucki tells police the neighbors are “pricks” and police reports notes, “David seemed agitated and displeased with officers during the entire encounter.” https://www.scribd.com/doc/310801970/11000672-Report

6/20/2011: “This letter is to validate that my family has heard David Victor Rucki of 19675 Ireland Place, Lakeville, MN yelling at and cursing my family, police officers and also his own wife and children… In our near decade of living next to him I have found him to be a very angry individual who rages at anyone who has contention or confronts him.” The letter goes on to say,”As police reports can verify, he has boldly cursed profanely at, and tried to strongly intimidate, Lakeville’s female animal control officer. It is logical to conclude he is capable of more towards those more vulnerable, such as his wife and children.” – Statement from a Neighbor Semantigans (Red Herring Alert)

I am asking the Court for this additional relief to clarify and extend the Order (the existing OFP) to keep the children and I safe. David has already plead guilty to violating the Order, and has engaged in criminal conduct that may well result in another criminal charge for an additional violation. He believes he is above the law and no one can stop him. I am pleading for the Court to send a strong message that this behavior has to stop, and that the Order for Protection has meaning and should be taken seriously.” – Amended Petition for Order for Protection, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, November 2011

I would work with Mr. Rucki to have him present a certain structure and accounting of his own behavior while the family was intact that would acknowledge the volatile family history and express his empathy for the children’s painful memories.Letter from Dr. James Gilbertson to GAL Julie Friedrich about Rucki children, Feb 6, 2013

6/12/2014: David Rucki’s road rage incident – resulting in criminal charges. Rucki was on probation for this incident when his two eldest daughters, who had ran away from his abuse in April 2013, were returned to his care. The victim says Rucki came after him and punched him once, knocking him to his knees. He said Rucki punched him 2 or 3 more times then casually walked away. The victim sustained significant injuries to his face and had to be hospitalized. https://www.scribd.com/doc/310792136/14002058-Report

Social worker reports, “G.R. was interviewed on 11/23/2015. She reports that dad was always screaming at mom. Neighbors called their home the ‘Scream House’.” G.R. describes abuse at the hands of her father, David Rucki, and states that she is not being influenced by her mother. She also states she would consider a relationship with her father in the future, when she is ready and has a choice. https://www.scribd.com/doc/316692570/SamiRucki

5/23/2016: “This is a case where there is no factual dispute. The Dahlens allowed the two Rucki girls to stay at their ranch because the girls, as they have stated numerous times prior to arriving and after leaving the ranch, did not want to return to their father’s home out of extreme fear of abuse…We have an entire church community that are willing to come down from Herman, Minnesota to confirm and testify that the Dahlens allowed the Rucki girls to stay there based on their reasonable belief that those girls would suffer physical, sexual or substantial emotional abuse if they returned to their father.Dahlen Investigative Report

Sandra Grazzini-Rucki was convicted after 75% of defense evidence was withheld by Judge Karen Asphaug. Suppression of defense evidence made it impossible for Sandra to prove the affirmative defense claim she raised, and effectively forced the jury to find her guilty.

“It is an affirmative defense if a person charged under subdivision 1 proves that:

(1) the person reasonably believed the action taken was necessary to protect the child from physical or sexual assault or substantial emotional harm..609.26 DEPRIVING ANOTHER OF CUSTODIAL OR PARENTAL RIGHTS

The truth will set you free, but in the case of Sandra Grazzini-Rucki (and now Dede Evavold), suppression of truth resulted in a felony conviction, and jail.

 

Never Forget: Judge Knutson – Stayed Sentence for Child Rapist

Never forget… Judge David L. Knutson let a child rapist, with a lengthy criminal history, walk free after he pleaded guilty to a brutal assault on a child. 

Child Rapist Gets Stayed Prison Term, 20 Years Probationed-prison-term-20-years-probation

Dakota County, Minnesota, May 7, 2013: Dennis Michael Roy, pleaded guilty to felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct after raping and repeatedly assaulting a 5-year old girl, a relative, from Eagan (Case No. 19HA-CR-12-495).

Roy faced a maximum of 30 years in prison and $40,000 in fines…but instead he walked free. Roy appeared before Judge David L. Knutson, who handed down his sentence on March 22, 2013. Judge Knutson sentenced Roy to a 16-year stayed prison term and 20 years of probation.

In September 2014, Roy was found guilty of a probation violation for loitering in public with an open bottle of alcohol. He served 45 days in jail.

Roy has 18 prior convictions, including second-degree burglary, multiple motor-vehicle thefts, multiple DUIs, trespassing, disorderly conduct and multiple domestic assaults.

The girl involved continues to struggle with the assault, and suffers from the effects of trauma.

Will Judge Knutson ever be held accountable? Unlikely because Judge Knutson is now a member of the Board of Judicial Standards that responds to complaints about Minnesota state court judges for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Members Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards

Justice has not been served; the community remains at risk.